When Did Father`s Day Start?

I'm going to tell you when the first Father's Day actually occurred. Contrary to my opinion, some people say the first Father's Day was observed on 5 Jul 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia (1); other believe it occurred on 19 Jun 1910 in Spokane Washington (2) and started by Sonora Smart Dodd to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who had raised six children on his own after his wife died.

But in actual fact the very first Father's Day occurred about 1800 B.C. First, let me introduce a man named Abram who was born in the city of Ur in Babylonia nineteen hundred and forty-eight years after God created the Heavans and the Earth, according to Jewish tradition. Abram was subjected to ten tests of faith to prove his worthiness to establish a covenant between God and the Jewish people.

When Abram was 100 and Sarai was 90, God promised Abram a son by Sarai. It was then that God changed Abram's name to Abraham (father of many), and Sarai's to Sarah (from "my princess" to "princess"). Sarah did indeed have a son, who was named Isaac (in Hebrew, Yitzchak), a name derived from the word "laughter," which to me is what Sarah must have had: a hysterical fit when she heard that she was going to bear a child at the age of 90!

The tenth test was to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering to God. Child sacrifice was quite common in the region in those days and in this regard, Abraham failed the test because he was ready to sacrifice his son in fear of his God. God's sending of an angel to stop the sacrifice was to show His people that He was opposed to the practice of human sacrifice, the first of many pagan and barbaric practices that Judaism would ignore and do away with.

On that day child sacrifice was declared to be abhored by God, and every child would be thankful to his father for not being killed merely to please some god. I believe that was truly the first Father's Day, when a religion's God told a father that the life of his son was more valuable than duty to that God. It was a great way to start off the new religion which we know today as Judaism.

On a personal note, my father gave me a present which I have been able to convey to both of my sons and hopefully they will likewise convey to their children: a great sense of humor. There was never a day in which my father failed to tell me a funny story or some joke. When I remember my father who died in 1985, I see in my mind's eye a smiling face and hear in my mind's ear his tremendous laughter. This is probably why whenever I tell my sons a story about my father, a smile comes to my face and I begin to laugh. Memories of my father are thus ones of joy not sadness or grief; and what a wonderful gift that is.

Some trivia about Father's Day:

Congress passed a Joint Resolution recognizing Father's Day in 1956, but it wasn't until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday for that year only. It didn't officially become an annual holiday until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Today, Father's Day is celebrated all over the world although not on the same day [see Wiki].

Red roses are worn on Father's Day to signify that one's father is living, while white roses mean one's father has died.

Bernie's Father's Day is dedicated to the memories of Harry Golomb and Walter "Duke" Hodnovich, two very special Dads who still live in his heart.

A Happy Father's day to all my readers who are dads.



West Virginia Division of Culture and History, First Father's Day service in 1908

Fairmont - The congregation of Central United Methodist Church once again will observe Father's Day at the home of the holiday's heritage.

The Fairmont church lays claim to the first Father's Day service in the nation. The observance is special this year because the holiday coincides with homecoming.

Steve Sirk, of the church Father's Day committee, said that the origin of the holiday is often traced to Spokane, Wash. The confusion is understandable.

Mrs. Sonorah Louise Smart Dodd is largely responsible for establishing the day as a national holiday in 1982.

The Fairmont church, however, has the satisfaction of knowing that on July 5, 1908, a worship service was the first true observance. Sheaves of ripened wheat adorned the altar of what was then called the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South. The church at that time was located on the corner of Second Street and Fairmont Avenue.


My Harlingen News Blog, Father’s Day History

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.

Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

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