Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day History

The inspiration for Father's Day was Mother's day. Sonora Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father who was widowed and left to raise his six children by himself.

Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose the third Sunday in June as the day for fatherly recognition. She started the movement among Protestant churches and instead of wearing carnations as they did for Mother's day she chose the rose for father's to wear in honor of their sacrificial role in the family. The churches also used Father's day as a way to promote the masculine side of Christianity, and to remind men to look after their families' spiritual welfare also.

Sonora Dodd then formed a committee, got political endorsements and tried to spread the idea around the country. But it didn't catch on very quickly. Mostly because the culture didn't see a need to lavish gifts on men who wanted nothing to do with mushy sentiments. Then the retail industry stepped in and in collaboration with florists, tobacconists, and stationers, revived the movement with the slogan, "Give dad something to wear."

Although in 1924 president Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day, it wasn't until 1972 that president Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent.

Today the Father's day council estimates that the observance of Father's Day brings in over $1 billion in retail sales each year.

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