Fun Facts: Where Father’s Day Came From

Jun 12, 2015
father's day in kansas city
Much like the families that celebrate it, Father’s Day has a long, rich history. ©iStockphoto.com/shironosov

Father’s Day is coming up, which means that you’re probably starting to think about what to get for dad. Father’s Day has been a tradition that seems to have gone on forever. But how much do you actually know about Father’s Day? The following are a few fun facts about Father’s Day:

While the first Father’s Day didn’t officially happen until 1909, the celebration of the father has gone back thousands of years. In fact, the very first Father’s Day card was created almost 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon, when a son named Elmesu inscribed a message into clay that wished his father good health and a long life.

It was a woman named Sonora Louise that came up with the idea of Father’s Day in 1909. Her father, William Jackson Smart, was a Civil War veteran that raised his six children for 21 years as a single father after his wife’s death. Sonora Louise was listening to a sermon at church on Mother’s Day and, in part because it was her father that raised her and her siblings, came up with the idea of honoring fathers on their own day as well. She encouraged churches around her area to observe Father’s Day the next year in June, which was the month of her father’s birth. It didn’t take long to catch on – even Hallmark began producing Father’s Day cards by the 1920’s.

While there were many congressional resolutions that proclaimed a national Father’s Day, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Nixon made Father’s Day an official holiday by signing a presidential resolution and declaring that every third Sunday of June would be Father’s Day.

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