So what date is Father’s Day this year?
Father’s Day falls onSunday, June 18, 2017 in the UK, as well as a host of other countries around the world.
Why do we celebrate Father’s Day?
The idea originated in the USA and has been officially celebrated there on the third Sunday in June since 1966.
The exact origins of what we now know as Father’s Day are disputed, though we do know the movement for a day which celebrated fatherhood began roughly 100 years ago.
Many believe that Sonora Dodd, from Washington, came up with the idea after hearing a Mother’s Day sermon in 1910 and wondering, not unreasonably, why fathers did not have their own day too.
Dodd and her siblings had been raised by their father as a single parent after their mother died in childbirth.
With the local YMCA and the Ministerial Association of Spokane, a city near where she was born, Dodd began a campaign to have the day officially recognised.
Others say it is Grace Golden Clayton, from Fairmont, West Virginia, who should be credited with the concept of Father’s Day, after she suggested a day celebrating fatherhood in 1908.
She put forward the idea following a mine explosion in a nearby town which killed more than 360 men – arguing that children in the town needed a time to remember their fathers.
Mrs Clayton may have been inspired by Anna Jarvis’ work to establish Mother’s Day; two months prior.
Now, the day exists simply to remind everyone that dads are great.
Father’s Day should be a national holiday!
While American presidents unofficially supported the day, it was not until 1966 that it was put on the country’s official calendar by President Lyndon Johnson.
In 1972 it was made a permanent national holiday by President Richard Nixon, though in the UK it does not enjoy this status. Which, of course, is a scandalous oversight.
The move came after a campaign by a number of public figures, including Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who in 1957 wrote to congress: “Either we honour both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honouring either one.
“But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.”
How is Father’s Day celebrated around the world?
While in the UK fathers can expect, at best, breakfast in bed and handmade card and, at worst, the day to be completely ignored, elsewhere the festival is done a little differently.
In Germany it is called Vatertag (Father’s Day) but is also sometimes known as Männertag (or men’s day).
In China, Father’s Day used to be celebrated on 8 August as the Chinese for eight is “ba”, while a colloquial word for father is “ba-ba” – so the eighth day of the eighth month sounds similar to “daddy”.
The day has since been moved to the third Sunday of June, in line with the UK and US.
Is there a stepfather’s day?
No, but many people believe there should be, including Neil Lyndon, who wrote this piece about it.
Are dads more hands-on than they used to be?
According to a recent Netmums survey published this week, the most important job for dads is “to be a role model and show how a good man acts for both boys and girls”.
Eighty-eight per cent of parents surveyed felt that the role of fathers had changed dramatically over the last generation, with a man’s career increasingly seen as being of secondary importance to his family.
All the more reason to spoil the old geezer rotten.