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The History of Father's Day
Father’s Day has a rather different origin than Mother’s Day which is also referred to as Mothering Sunday. Mothers Day has it’s origins dating back to the Middle Ages, the custom developed of allowing people who had moved away from where they grew up to come back to visit their home or 'mother' churches, and their mothers, on the fourth Sunday of the Christian festival of Lent.
Father’sDay originated in America and it is thought that the first ever Fathers Day was 1908, when a West Virginian Church held a special sermon honouring fathers, after 362 men were killed in a mining accident, the focus of the service was on all that fathers do for us, however, this was a one off event and it was not repeated.
The following year in 1909 on the back of this even a woman called Sonora Smart Dodd made it her mission to set up a national Father’s Day. Upset by the fact that there was a Mother’s Day, but no corresponding day for fathers. Dodd suggested the date of 5th June in homage to her own father’s birthday, he was a civil war veteran and had raised her and five siblings as a single parent after his wife died in childbirth.
Over time and with more campaigning Father’s Day slowly spread to other states but it was thought at the time that men were ‘less sentimental and less appreciate of gifts and thanks’ than women.
During World War 2 however this all changed. A major advertising campaign used Father’s Day to show appreciation of the troops in the field and by the end of the war the day was engrained as an institution.
Richard Nixon finally declared Father’s Day a national holiday in 1972 when he signed it into law in the middle of his re-election campaign. The UK by this stage was already celebrating Father’s Day after following America's example and is often simply celebrated by taking time together as a family over a special meal.