The History of Father’s Day

By: Damien Knight

The barbeque is lit and hotdogs are on the grill, kids are playing and Dad is wearing his grilling apron. It’s that time of year again, Father’s Day.  You watch your dad crack a cold one and laugh about the gaudy tie your mom bought for the occasion. Then it comes to mind, how did Father’s Day get it’s start?

While Mother’s day was established in 1908, it took another 6o years for Father’s day to become an official National Holiday. The first unofficial Father’s Day was celebrated in 1910 but it did not pick up right off like Mother’s day. Mother’s Day was officially started by Anna Jarvis to honor her mother and backed by a retail store. People of that time felt father’s did not garner the same affection as mothers. It would not be profitable.

Washington State was the first state to celebrate Father’s Day state wide on June 19, 1910. From that point on it slowly gained traction. By 1916 President Woodrow Wilson wanted to promote Father’s Day but Congress resisted. He still celebrated the day by using the telegraph system to unfurl a flag in Spokane. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge urged that Father’s Day become a national holiday, but he did not issue a national proclamation. It was President Lyndon B. Johnson who made the first proclamation honoring Father’s Day.

It took almost 60 years of fighting, and a major war to really make Father’s Day become official. The Vietnam war may have speed up the long stalemate over the holiday. Many father’s had fought in the war and people were wanting to honor the sacrifices of these men. It was 1972 when Richard Nixon signed the holiday into law.

A side note the U.S. isn’t the only one to celebrate Father’s Day. Europe and many catholic countries celebrate this day on May 19th instead. This day is called St. Joseph’s Day.

Cited Sources: Staff. (2009). Father’s Day. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from

Father’s Day. (2017, June 18). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from

Waxman, O. B. (2017, June 15). The Forgotten Origins of Father’s Day. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from

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