Father’s Day will be celebrated on coming Sunday June 20 in almost 55 countries around the globe. The idea for designating a day to honor fathers and to celebrate fatherhood began in Spokane, a city located in the Northwestern United States in the state of Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd, a woman native to Spokane, thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a sermon at Spokane’s Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1909 about the newly recognized Mother’s Day. She wanted a celebration that honor the fathers like her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise his family alone when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child (Sonora).
Having been raised by her father, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.
A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced to the US Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “singling out just one of our two parents”. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father’s Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like people honor all mothers on Mother’s Day.
Gifts and Flowers: In different cultures around the world, when children cannot visit their fathers or take them out to dinner, they send a greeting card. In most cultures, fathers prefer greeting cards that are not too sentimental. Most greeting cards are whimsical so fathers laugh when they open them. Some give heartfelt thanks for being there whenever the son or daughter needed Dad.
Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be offered for a living father and white if the father has already died and the family likes to remember him.
In the History of Iran: Some documents indicate that the Father’s Day used to be celebrated during Bahaman Feast (in Persian: Jashn-e Bahmangan) by ancient Iranians. In modern Iran, March 16 was designated as the Father’s Day. It coincided with 24th day of Esfand (12th month of Iranian Calendar), which was also the birth date of Reza Shah, the founder of Pahlavi Dynasty (1925-1979). In the present-day Iran, Father’s Day is celebrated on the Birthday of First Shiite Imam (Imam Ali) on 13 of Rajab Islamic calendar.
In Poetry: Father and fatherhood have been praised by many poets around the world. A Chain of Persian Poems on Father as selected by this author may be viewed online. Here is an English poem on What Makes a Dad as composed by an anonymous poet:
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it Dad.
Happy Father’s Day!
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD
Hernandez, B. (2010): Online Article on “Celebrate Father’s Day”.
Murchison, C. (1996): Online Article on “Any man can be a Father, but it takes a special person to be called Dad”.
Saadat Noury, M. (2010): Online Chain of Poems on Father (in Persian).
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2010): Online Notes on “Father’s Day” (in English and Persian).
Read more about Joyful Moments of Celebration on MISSING MOMENTS