History of…Father’s Day

The third Sunday of June is considered a day in which we celebrate our dads.  A day in which we acknowledge the male role model in our lives who makes us laugh, holds us when we cry and shares words of encouragement.  But, have you ever thought of its origins?  Who, and where did this celebration become an annual event?

One story has the first recorded observance of Father’s Day in the U.S. was on July 5, 1908.  At the suggestion of either Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton or Jessica Clinton Clayton, the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South in Fairmont, W.Va., held a special service to honor 360 men (most of them fathers) who had died in a coal mine explosion seven months earlier.  This particular Father’s Day service was an isolated event that wasn’t repeated in later years.

Another story, inspired by a church service honoring mothers, Mrs. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd (1882-1978) wanted fathers to be similarly honored.  In particular, she wanted to honor her father, William Jackson Smart. Smart raised Sonora and her five siblings alone after his wife died in childbirth when Sonora was 16.  In 1909, Dodd petitioned her minister & the Spokane Ministerial Association to honor fathers in a special church service.  Her diligence in promoting Father’s Day paid off a year later.  The first Father’s Day observances in Spokane took place on the third Sunday in June, the day Dodd had proposed.

Here is the earliest recollection of today’s June holiday.  However, some scholars opine that Father’s Day history is much older than we actually believe it to be.  Scholars believe that the origin of Father’s Day is not a latest phenomenon, as many believe it to be. Rather they claim that the tradition of Father’s Day can be traced in the ruins of Babylon. They have recorded that a young boy called Elmesu carved a Father’s Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago.  Elmesu wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life. Though there is no record of what happened to Elmesu and his father but the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day remained in several countries all over the world.

Here is the link to the history of Father’s Day, with other thoughts of it’s origin…

Father’s Day

Americans are expected to spend more than ever on gifts for Father’s Day this year (June 2019), according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insight & Analytics. Total spending for the holiday is estimated to reach $16 billion, up from last year’s (2018) $15.3 billion.

Father’s Day spending has grown 70 percent, approximately $6.6 billion, since 2009. The biggest drivers of Father’s Day spending are growth in spending by consumers ages 35-44, and spending on clothing, special outings and gift cards. This year, 75.9 percent of people plan to celebrate and are expected to spend a record $138.97, up from last year’s $132.82, and up from $91 in 2009.  Consumers ages 35-44 plan to spend the most at an average $197.66, over $100 more than this age group spent 10 years ago.

When searching for the perfect gift, 39 percent of consumers will head to department stores, 34 percent will shop online, 24 percent will shop at a discount store, 23 percent at a specialty store, 11 percent at a specialty clothing store and 2 percent via catalog. Over half (57 percent) of smartphone/tablet owners plan to use their device to assist in Father’s Day gifting decisions, with 38 percent using their mobile device to research products and compare prices.

More than half of those surveyed plan to buy for their fathers or stepfathers (53 percent) while others will shop for their husbands (27 percent) or sons (9 percent) among other dads in their lives.


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