Why we celebrate Father’s Day: history and origin of the date

Why we celebrate Father’s Day: history and origin of the date

Although this international celebration has different dates depending on the country, in Spain it is celebrated on March 19 in honor of San José In this article, I will discuss Why we celebrate Father’s Day with details.

The origin of Father’s Day dates back to 1924. In that year, the President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, established this date as a national celebration. The day had been gaining acceptance since 1909 thanks to Sonora Smart Dodd.

Smart was the daughter of an American Civil War veteran. He had to take care of his six children after losing his wife in the last childbirth. Following the death of his wife, it was Henry Jackson Smart himself who took over the reins of the family. Years later, his daughter Sonora had the idea of ​​commemorating all the parents in the United States as a sign of gratitude to his own, as was done with Mother’s Day.

At first, Smart proposed to celebrate this day on June 5, the date of his father’s birth. However, this election was unsuccessful. It was in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson established that it would take place on the third Sunday in June .

Sonora Smart Dodd, promoter of Father’s Day in the United States.


In the case of Spain, the story is similar and dates back to 1948. This year, a teacher from the Dehesa de la Villa organized an honorary day at her school for the parents of the students. All of them had shown their desire to have the same celebration that their women had with Mother’s Day.

Due to the religiosity of that time, it was decided to choose the figure of Saint Joseph as a model of a Christian father and worker. They celebrated a mass in his honor which was followed by the delivery of manual gifts made by the students and a festival with poetry, dances and theatrical performances.

The idea caught on and the teacher herself, Manuela Vicente Ferrero , spread the initiative through the media at the time. This is how it reached the ears of the director of Galerías Preciados , José Fernández Rodríguez , who carried out the first propaganda of Father’s Day through the press and radio of the time.

The Day of the Father was gaining acceptance throughout Spain. It finally stayed on the day of Saint Joseph, a very dear and consecrated date in Valencia .

The teacher Manuela Vicente Ferrero in one of her classes.


As it happens here, there are more countries and cities in the world that follow the Spanish tradition and celebrate Father’s Day every March 19. This is the case of Andorra, Antwerp (Belgium), Bolivia, Croatia, Honduras, Italy, Liechstein, Morocco, Mozambique, Portugal and the Canton Ticino region (Switzerland).

Russia for example is the first country to celebrate this date every year by commemorating Father’s Day on February 23. Most of the world has adopted the third Sunday in June following the American custom. This happens in countries such as Argentina, China, France, Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom, among others.

Like Spain, there are countries with peculiarities that have opted for their own days. This is the case in Denmark (June 5, Constitution Day) or Germany (Ascension Day). In Thailand, it is celebrated on December 5, the birthday of King Bhumibol.

Origin of the Father’s Day party

This celebration was born in the United States of the gratitude of a daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, towards her father, a veteran of the American civil war named Henry Jackson Smart. Henry’s wife passed away giving birth to their sixth child, and he cared for and raised their children with all the love and help in the world on a farm in Washington state.

Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea of celebrating Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. At first, he proposed June 5, Mr. Smart’s birthday, but the choice of date was unsuccessful.

The idea of ​​instituting a ‘ Father’s Day ‘, however, did gradually gain acceptance. Finally, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge endorsed the idea of ​​establishing a national Father’s Day, and in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in America.

The celebration quickly spread to Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa as a way to honor parents and recognize their role in the upbringing and education of their children.

Regardless of the date of its celebration, the important thing about this date is that it aims to pay tribute to parents. A day in which it is important that we remind them how much we love them, how much they have meant and mean to us, and how important their presence is in the development and education of children.

Although each family celebrates it in their own way, in Spain it is very common that meals are made on Father’s Day or the days close to that date. It is frequent that families get together to celebrate this date and that the little ones of the house give gifts to the parents.

Specifically, on Father’s Day, families gather around parents, grandparents, or stepparents to give them a gift. The crafts of children thought to dad are seldom absent, nor some detail to remember that day. In many Spanish homes, Father’s Day is the only day of the year when children prepare breakfast for Dad (who pretends to be asleep until everything is ready) and take it to bed. However, it is also important to remember that not all families celebrate this date or do it in the same way.


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