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The History of Father's Day

June 11th, 2013 Seasonal

June is the month that we honor our fathers, but the holiday has only been official for about 40 years, trailing behind Mother's day by about 50.

First Father's Day
The first celebration of what would later become father's day took place under tragic circumstances: the anniversary of a mining explosion. In 1908, a church in West Virginia came together to honor those who had passed in a mining accident, but the day was meant to be a one-time memorial. 

The next year, a woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd who was raised by a widower set about to gather momentum for a local celebration. She went to businesses in her native city, Spokane, and was eventually able to convince Washington state to have its first Father's Day in 1910. 

Gathering support
Both presidents Wilson and Coolidge supported Father's Day during their time in office, but it sometimes proved difficult to get people interested in celebrating. Many men simply did not want to be attached to the sentimentality of a holiday. Others supported a joint Parent's Day instead of celebrating each holiday separately. These supporters would gather in New York's Central Park to protest Mother's Day, according to The History Channel. During the Great Depression, Father's Day became more commercialized when retailers in need of business began marketing the holiday more aggressively, selling many of the same things that are popular today: tools, ties and hats.

World War II was another boom for the burgeoning holiday, as it was widely seen as a way to honor fathers who were away at war. Although it wouldn't be nationally recognized for another 30 years, Father's Day had become a commercial and cultural celebration. In 1966, president Lyndon Johnson officiated the holiday and his successor Richard Nixon made it permanent in 1972.