History of Father's Day

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Often overshadowed by Mother's Day, the history of Father's Day has a unique and rich history of its own. According to many sources, the first Father's Day was celebrated in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5th, 1908.[1] A woman named Grace Golden Clayton wanted a way to remember the 361 men who were killed in a mine explosion in Monongah, WV in December 1907, 250 of whom were fathers.


Clayton felt that fathers should be remembered in their own special way.

The first celebration was held at what is now Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont. However, the celebration in Fairmont was local, and virtually unknown outside of the town. [2] [3]

Another woman who was instrumental in creating the holiday was Sonora Smart Dodd. Having been raised by her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart after the death of her mother, she held her father in high regard. When hearing a sermon about Mother's Day, Sonora felt that fatherhood should be recognized. As a result of her efforts, a Father's Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington on June 19th, 1910.[4] Traditionally the day was a solemn celebration with a service at church that honored father's. Sonora Dodd really liked the idea for flowers to be worn during these services; white roses were to honor a father who has deceased, and a red rose for a father who is living. White and Red Roses are now known to be the official flowers of Father's Day, and are still worn to this day.

The idea of Father's Day became popular. Soon, figures such as President Woodrow Wilson were celebrating the holiday. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday by 1924. It wasn't until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. But it was President Richard Nixon who made the holiday official in 1972. [5]

Celebrating Father's Day


In the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and in many other countries, Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, and the ways of celebrating are similar. Father's Day is a day to express love and affection, and to honor "good ol' Dad". This day is also set aside to show gratitude toward other important men that have fatherly roles; like stepfathers, foster fathers, grandfather, uncles, and godfathers.

Father's Day Gifts

The most stereotypical Father's Day gift is the necktie, and is unofficially considered the official Father's Day gift. More recently, there has been an unofficial not another tie trend that has inspired gift givers to get Dad anything but a tie for Father's Day (unless it is a crazy or humorous one). Handyman gifts and camping, fishing and yard accessories as well as general outdoors related gifts are commonly given gifts. Gifts of food like gift baskets or anything that can be grilled such as steaks, sausages, pork and BBQ chicken are also popular. Depending on Dad's interests, golf related, sports memorabilia, automotive and office gifts or toys can also be good choices.

According to the Greeting Card Association, Father's Day cards are ranked 5th as the most popular Seasonal greeting card sold. [6]

Homemade Father's Day Gift Ideas


You can also put your creative skills to work to make a homemade Father's Day Gift. Create a scrapbook celebrating your Dad's life, or make a coupon book with vouchers to complete chores or to spend time by playing a game or watching a TV show of your Dad's choice, etc.

Send your Dad on an adventure, with an experience gift. Experience gifts provide a variety of exciting and innovative encounters that are sure to please just about any type of Dad from a golfer, fisherman, or the Dad with a "need for speed".

Other Ways to Celebrate Father's Day

In addition to giving gifts for Father's Day, it is also a great time to spend some quality time together. Below are a few ideas...

  • Have a backyard barbeque, this is one way that many families come together to enjoy the day and pay tribute to Dad.
  • Prepare questions for your father or grandfather to answer. Ask questions about his birth, childhood, teenage years, school experiences, jobs, how he met your mother or grandmother. This is a special way to celebrate Father's Day and gives them a perfect opportunity to share their memories and life experiences that molded and shaped their lives. Be sure to document his answers by recording your interview or writing his answers into a journal.
  • Pack a lunch and take your Dad out for a picnic in the park.
  • Buy sporting event tickets and take Dad out to watch his favorite team. For a more budget-friendly alternative bring the game to him, spread out a blanket in front of the TV and serve your Dad his favorite "stadium treats" like hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, etc.
  • Crown him King for the day, make a crown out of art supplies you may have on hand, and use a blanket as a robe. Then treat good ol' Dad like royalty by serving him a meal, completing chores, and making him feel extra loved.

Related Guides



  1. West Virginia Culture and History
  2. http://www.wvculture.org/HiStory/miscellaneous/fathersday02.html
  3. http://www.wvculture.org/HiStory/miscellaneous/fathersday01.html
  4. http://www.inspirationline.com/Brainteaser/fathersday.htm
  5. http://wilstar.com/holidays/fathers.htm
  6. Greeting Card Association: About the Industry - General Facts