About 4,000 years ago a young boy named Elmusu wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life by carving a Father’s Day message on a card made out of clay. No one knows what happened to Elmusu or his father, but the tradition of having a special day honoring fathers has continued through the years in countries across the world.
The idea of Father’s Day was conceived by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children by himself on a rural farm.
Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia is believed to have conducted the first Father’s Day service in 1908 at the Central Church of Fairmont.
President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day with a presidential proclamation in 1966, but the holiday was not really made permanent until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a presidential resolution that made the third Sunday in June officially Father’s Day in the United States.
Facts about Fathers
There is an estimated 64.3 million fathers in the US. US Census: Unpublished data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation
The number of single fathers is 2.3 million, up from 393,000 in 1970. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 18 percent are men. US Census
Stay-at-home dads number an estimated 140,00 in 2008. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for 234,000 children. Among these stay-at-home dads, 54 percent had two or more children US Census: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2008
The world’s youngest father is a 6 yr old from China.
Les Colley (92 yrs 10 months) was the world’s oldest dad.
Among 11.3 million preschoolers in the US whose mothers are employed, 25% are regularly cared for by their father during their mother’s working hours. This amounted to 2.9 million children. US Census: Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005
In 2008 there were 1.8 million single fathers in the US. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 16 percent are men – eight percent were raising three or more children younger than 18, while about 51 percent were divorced, 25 percent were never married, 19 percent were separated and 5 percent were widowed. US Census: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2008
53% of children younger than 6 ate breakfast and 71% ate dinner with their father every day in 2006. The corresponding percentages who ate with their mother were 58 percent and 80 percent. (The percentages of children who ate breakfast with their mother or father, respectively, were not significantly different from each another.) US Census: A Child’s Day: 2006
36% of children younger than 6 had 15 or more outings with their father in the last month, as of 2006. Children ages 3 to 5 were read to by their fathers an average of 6 times in the past week, as of 2006. US Census: A Child’s Day: 2006
50 percent of all Father’s Day cards are purchased for dads. Nearly 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are purchased for husbands. Other categories include grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and someone special.
While Mother’s Day was the biggest holiday for phone calls in 2006, Father’s Day was the busiest for COLLECT calls. (The overall busiest day of the year in 2006 for phone calls was the Monday after Thanksgiving. However, since cell phone usage is increasing, the “collect” calls are expected to decline.
Father’s Day is the fourth-largest card-sending holiday in the United States, with 110 million cards exchanged annually.
Worldwide Father’s Day observances in order of calendar date.
March 14 (24 Esfand) – Iran
March 19 – Belgium (St Joseph ‘s day), Bolivia, Honduras, Italy, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Spain
May 8 – South Korea (Parents’ Day)
Ascension Day – Germany (Herrentag; drinking day, no celebration of Fatherhood)
First Sunday of June – Lithuania
June 5 (Constitution Day) – Denmark
Second Sunday of June – Austria, Ecuador, Belgium (secular celebration)
June 17 – El Salvador, Guatemala
Third Sunday of June – Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
June 23 – Nicaragua, Poland, Uganda
July 30 – Vietnam
Second Sunday of July – Uruguay
Last Sunday of July – Dominican Republic
Second Sunday of August – Brazil
August 8 – Taiwan
First Sunday of September – Australia, New Zealand
New Moon of September (Bhadra as per Lunar Calendar) September 11 – Nepal
First Sunday of October – Luxembourg
Second Sunday of November – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden
December 5 – Thailand
As “nontraditional” family structures become more common, any nurturing man – a “big brother”, a brother-in-law, an uncle, a neighbor or perhaps another special man who is “like a father” is likely to be honored on Father’s Day.
Nine out of 10 Americans say they look forward to receiving personal letters and greeting cards because cards allow them to keep in touch with friends and family and make them feel they are important to someone else.
Although e-mail, text messaging and phone calls are valued by Americans for helping them communicate with family and friends, the majority of Americans say they prefer the old-fashioned handwritten card or letter to make someone feel truly special.
No matter what day you celebrate, the point is to make Father’s Day special for the man you are honoring. There are lots of gifts out there, but if you really want to make someone feel special, reconnect them to past memories and feelings through personal photos. And how do you do that? Easy! Check out Mimi’s Memos Personalized For You, they can be personalized for anyone – father, brother, uncle, etc. Make this a truly special Father’s Day for someone you cherish and respect!