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June 2013 - Nr. 6

The idea of Fatherís Day turned up for the first time over 100 years ago and is now celebrated in most countries all over the world, but not at the same time. Bulgaria does it on December26; Denmark coincides this day with the Father's Daycelebrations of their constitution; Finland celebrates it on the 2nd Sunday in November. Many countries observe this day combined with other celebratory days important to their country. Some of them only included Fatherís Day only lately, but most have done so for many decades. The USA and Canada seem to be on the same page and celebrate Fatherís Day on the 3rd Sunday of June, while Germany does it on Ascensions Day (Christi Himmelfahrt, 40 days after Easter).

Here are some notes from Wikipedia, where you find much more information on how this day is celebrated around the world:

Fatherís Day was inaugurated in the United States in the early 20th century to complement Motherís Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting.

After the success obtained by Anna Jarvis with the promotion of Motherís Day in the US, some wanted to create similar holidays for other family members, and Fatherís Day was the choice most likely to succeed. There were other persons in the US who independently thought of ďFatherís DayĒ, but the credit for the modern holiday is often given to Sonora Dodd, who was the driving force behind its establishment.

Fatherís Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Jarvisí Motherís Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her fatherís birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

It did not have much success initially. In the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane. In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level. She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers. Since 1938 she had the help of the Fatherís Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Menís Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion. Americans resisted the holiday during a few decades, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Motherís Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes.[9] But the trade groups did not give up: they kept promoting it and even incorporated the jokes into their adverts, and they eventually succeeded. By the mid-1980s the Fatherís Council wrote that ď[Fatherís Day] has become a ĎSecond Christmasí for all the menís gift-oriented industries.Ē

A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Fatherís Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus ď[singling] out just one of our two parentsĒ. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Fatherís Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.


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