Learning About The History And Origin Of Father's Day
The third Sunday of June is when the US and other parts of the world honor the superheroes in their lives, also known as fathers. Every year, when you plan something special and shower your dear dad with love and gifts, have you ever wondered how this holiday originated? We dig into Father’s Day’s history and learn about the father and daughter behind this wonderful celebration.
The First Commemoration For Fathers In The US
On July 5, 1908, a few years before a daughter started campaigning for Father’s Day, West Virginia had its first ever event honoring fathers. It was a Sunday Sermon sponsored by the West Virginia church in the memory of 362 men who lost their lives in a Fairmont Coal Company explosion.
Most of these men had families and kids and were trying to provide for them. The sermon honored those men, making it the first event held in reverence for fathers in the US.
The Inspiration Behind Father’s Day
William Jackson Smart was a double Civil War veteran and the inspiration behind Father’s Day. This father was twice widowed, which left him with six children to raise alone in eastern Washington. And he did a wonderful job of it.
In 1919, one of Smart’s daughters, Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington, came to the realization that just like mothers, fathers also need to be honored. Mother’s Day at the time was already an established holiday, and it was during one of the sermons on mothers that Sonora had the idea.
“He was both father and mother to me and my brothers and sisters, I remember everything about him!” Sonora said about her father when talking to the Spokane Daily Chronicles. Today, fathers all over the world get to experience this wonderful holiday because of William Jackson Smart and his daughter.
The First Father’s Day In Washington
The holiday for Father’s Day wasn’t immediately accepted. Sonora had to work hard to get herself heard. In 1910, Sonora started petitioning the local churches, shopkeepers, YMCA, and politicians to recognize all the fathers in the country.
Her hard work eventually paid off, and her home state, Washington, celebrated the first ever Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. No one knows if it was a coincidence or planned, but Father’s Day ended up being an official holiday in June, the same month William Jackson was born.