History of Father's Day

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The creation of a national day for fathers began back in the early 1900s when a grateful daughter wanted to show her deep appreciation for her own father.

A gentleman by the name of William Smart, a war veteran, was widowed when his wife died in childbirth. Mr. Smart raised his seven children on a farm in south eastern Washington State.

When Sonora Smart Dodd, one of Mr. Smart's children, was grown she wanted to show her appreciation for her father. He had shown her love and strength in raising her and her brothers and sisters as a single parent. So, in 1909, she proposed a day to honor her father in June (the month of her father's birth).

The very first Fathers' Day followed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge showed support of this becoming a national holiday.

However, it wasn't until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson officially proclaimed Fathers' Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June.President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent in 1972.

The officially recognised date of Father's Day varies from country to country. This section lists some significant examples.

March 19
Countries observing Father's Day on 19 March include:

Belgium (also secular celebration on the second Sunday of June), Italy, Portugal and Spain.

June 23
Countries observing Father's Day on 23 June include:

Poland and Nicaragua.

Third Sunday of June
Countries observing Father's Day on the third Sunday of June include:

Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Macao, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

First Sunday of June
Countries observing Father's Day on the first Sunday of June include:

India and Lithuania

First Sunday of September
Countries observing Father's Day on the first Sunday of September include:

Australia and New Zealand.

Second Sunday of November
Countries observing Father's Day on the second Sunday of November include:

Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Other dates
Countries with other celebration dates include:

Russia: February 23 (Defender of the Fatherland Day, a military holiday, seen by many as a men's day)
South Korea: May 8 (Parents' Day)
Germany: Ascension Day
Denmark: June 5 (also Constitution Day)
Austria: second Sunday of June
Vietnam: July 7 (Parents' Day)
Dominican Republic: last Sunday of July
Iran: 13 Rajab, birthday of Ali
Taiwan: August 8
Brazil: second Sunday of August
Thailand: December 5 (birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej)

Harry C. Meek, president of the Lions Club in Chicago, was also a component in establishing Fathers' Day. He gave several talks around the America expressing the need for a day to honor our fathers.

In 1920 the Lions Clubs of America presented him with a gold watch, with the inscription "Originator of Fathers' Day".

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