The Origins and History of Father’s Day in the United States

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A Brief History of Father’s Day in the United States

Father's Day at Oakmont Country Club
A leader board displays a Father’s Day message before the final round of golf’s US Open at Oakmont Country Club on June 19, 2016 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(CNN Spanish) — As tradition dictates, Father’s Day is celebrated every June in the United States to honor fathers across the country.

The history of this celebration is closely intertwined with that of Mother’s Day, and from its inception, June has been the month when Father’s Day has been observed by the population.

  • Discover how celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce celebrated Mother’s Day in the United States.

Below, we delve into the reasons behind the June celebration and its origins.

Father’s Day in the United States is observed on the third Sunday of June. Therefore, in 2023, the celebration will take place on Sunday, June 18.

The establishment of the third Sunday in June as the official date for Father’s Day celebrations dates back to 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a law designating this day as a national holiday, according to the Britannica encyclopedia.

However, the origins of Father’s Day can be traced back even further, to the early 20th century.

The Origins of Father’s Day in the United States

According to Britannica, Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with the inception of Father’s Day in the US.

Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father, a war veteran who single-handedly raised her and her five siblings after their mother passed away during childbirth.

In 1909, while attending a sermon on Mother’s Day, which was already an established holiday at the time, Smart Dodd got the idea for Father’s Day, as detailed by Britannica.

“Local religious leaders supported the idea, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, which happened to be Dodd’s father’s birthday,” explains the encyclopedia.

From that initial celebration, the date gradually gained recognition:

  • In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge endorsed the celebration.
  • In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation recognizing Father’s Day.
  • Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day, officially making it a national holiday, according to Britannica.

Although Father’s Day initially held strong religious connotations, it has now evolved into a holiday celebrated across all spheres of society.

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