The History of Father’s Day

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first Father’s Day celebration. According to our research, Father’s Day was established in Spokane, USA by Sonora Louise Smart Dodd. Aged only 16 when her mother died in childbirth, Sonora and her siblings were brought up by their father, a Civil War veteran.

The story goes that while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora had the inspiration to establish a day to honour fathers. Thanks to her tireless campaigning, the first Father’s Day was celebrated the following year in Spokane on Sunday, 19 June 1910. Eventually Sonora’s campaign led to Father’s Day receiving official recognition.

Father’s Day worldwide

Today, Father’s Day is still celebrated on the third Sunday in June in over 50 countries worldwide, including the UK and USA. This year, Father’s Day falls on 20 June, 100 years and 1 day exactly since Sonora held the first Father’s Day celebration.

Other countries also celebrate Father’s Day but on different days in the year. For example, in Australia and New Zealand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in September, and in Scandinavia on the second Sunday in November.

Throughout the world, children traditionally celebrate this special day by giving cards and Father’s Day gifts to their ‘Dad’, in other words the man who is most influential in their lives – be it their natural father, step-father, or grandfather.

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