Father’s Day is a special celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It acknowledges and appreciates the important role fathers play in raising children. Father’s Day complements Mother’s Day, a celebration honoring mothers.
Though fathers have been revered at all times by civilizations across the globe, ironically what was missing until the last century was the official recognition of the significance of fathers in one’s life.
Father’s Day story is the tale of realization of the need for a Father’s Day festival primarily by Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington. The story narrates Sonora’s unflagging struggle to officially set a day to honor all fathers. Thanks to Sonora, today Father’s Day is celebrated in a large number of countries around the world.
When is Father’s Day?
In South Africa, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. That means this year’s celebration is on:
Year Date Day Week of Month Celebration 2019 16 June Sunday 3rd Father’s Day
This date also applies to USA, Canada, the UK, France, India, China and several other countries. . However, it is also celebrated on other days, for example on February 23rd (Russia, Defender of the Fatherland Day), March 19th (as Festa del Papà in Italy, Dia do Pai in Portugal and Día del Padre in Spain), the first Sunday in June (Switzerland), the second Sunday in June (Austria and Belgium), first Sunday of September (Australia, New Zealand) etc. You can check Wikipedia for the full list of all the countries and their respective Father’s Day Celebrations.
The History of Father’s Day
The history of Fathers Day can be traced back more than 4,000 years ago. In Babylon, a son called Elmesu carved a message to his father on a clay card. Elmesu wished his father a long and happy life.
Though fathers have been revered through the centuries, the official recognition of Father’s Day only happened in the early 1900’s. Several people are credited for furthering the cause of Father’s Day, but Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd is seen as the key person in making this great celebration happen. Sonora Dodd is recognized as the Founder of the Father’s Day Festival.
In 1909, Sonora overheard a Mother’s Day sermon, and begun to recognize the hardships that her father must have gone through while bringing up his family. Sonora, who was 27 then, had begun to recognize the hardships her father must have gone through while bringing up his six children alone. When Sonora was 16, her mother had died during childbirth. Sonora’s father a Civil War veteran by the name of William Jackson Smart raised six children including the newborn on his own. Sonora questioned that if there is a day to recognize mothers then why is not there a day to honor fathers?
Initially, many people laughed at her idea, but her mind was made up. She began a sincere campaign lobbying for the cause of Father’s Day, and finally, her efforts began to show. On June 19, 1910, along with the support of Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the first Father’s Day was celebrated.
To pay tribute to her affectionate father, Sonora wished for Fathers Day to be held on the day of her Fathers birthday on June 5, but due to time constraints, the celebration was held on the third Sunday in June. And that tradition has lasted till today.
How is Father’s Day Celebrated Today?
Father’s Day has become a hugely popular festival. The World over, people thank their father and pay tribute to them.
In South Africa too, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, which means that families get the opportunity to spend the day together. Marking the beautiful occasion, people express love and affection for their father, wish them “Happy Father’s Day” and thank them for their great support and guidance. As a tradition, children also pamper their father (or the father figures in their lives) by presenting them with lovable gifts like Father’s Day cards , flowers, gourmet gifts, neckties or any other presents their father love to receive. Many South Africans also enjoy the day by going out for a picnic, fishing, or a meal in a restaurant. You can even just prepare his Favorite Food with chilled Drinks and let him enjoy the time with his family. Basically doing whatever makes the man of the house happy.
Apart from private celebrations, several social and cultural societies in South Africa host Father’s Day celebration to stress on the important role played by fathers in nurturing children and building a stronger South Africa.