Every third Sunday in June, people around the globe take some time to honor their fathers, paternal bonds, father figures, and fatherhood in general. The holiday was traditionally symbolized by neckties and backyard cookouts but has since evolved in different aspects. Today, various regions have their way of celebrating Father’s Day. Here are some more Father’s Day facts you (probably) didn’t know.

1. Some Countries Recognize Father’s Day as a Public Holiday

While citizens of different countries celebrate Father’s Day, it is mostly informal. However, there are a few regions where the celebration is recognized as a public holiday. They include Lithuania, Estonia, Samoa, and some parts of Spain. Father’s Day is celebrated as Parents’ Day in South Korea.

2. It Was First Celebrated (Outside Religion) in 1910

The majority of historical documents agree that Father’s Day was first celebrated on June 19, 1910. It is believed that Sonora Smart Dodd, from Spokane, Washington, in the United States, invented it. She was celebrating her father, who was not only a veteran of the Civil War but also raised his six children as a widower. This happened in 1909, setting precedence for the following year’s edition.

3. Catholics Celebrated Father’s Day Long Before it Became a Thing

While Father’s Day became a thing in the early 20th century, the Catholic countries in Europe had been celebrating it way before that! To date, the congregants celebrate Father’s Day as Saint Joseph’s Day on March 19. It has been so since the Middle Ages.

4. There Is No Specific Reason Why Father’s Day is Held on the Third Sunday of June

Today, most people celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June. Interestingly, there is no specific reason for that, as with other holidays. If anything, Sonora Smart Dodd, the person believed to have initiated the holiday, wanted it to be on June 5 to coincide with her father’s birthday.

However, after contacting her local church groups, businesses, government officials, and other relevant entities hoping to give her father a befitting celebration, Dodd was told the preparations would take a while. It eventually happened on June 17, the third Sunday of June that year, and the tradition continued.

5. Rodney King’s Death on Father’s Day Marked a Strange Coincidence

Rodney King was an African-American man who became famous after he was severely beaten by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The incident was caught on camera and sparked protests from the community, resulting in the death of 63 people and thousands of others injured.

That aside, Rodney King was found dead after drowning in a swimming pool on Father’s Day in 2012. Strangely enough, his father, Ronald King, also died by drowning on Father’s Day in 1984.

6. J.K. Rowling Gifted Her Father the First Edition of Harry Potter on Father’s Day

J.K. Rowling is a celebrated author known for her work in the much-loved series of seven Harry Porter novels. In 2000, she gifted her father the first edition of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” for Father’s Day. She even signed it: “Lots of love from your firstborn.” Her father sold the book for £27,500 three years later.

7. There Is a Lore That the Empire State Building Sends Annual Father’s Day Cards to Reynolds Building

It is believed that the staff from the Empire State Building usually sends an annual Father’s Day card to their counterparts at the Reynolds Building. The Empire State Building partially derived its design from the Reynolds Building. So, the gesture is to acknowledge the North Carolina-based skyscraper as its “father.”

However, some sources claim this was a one-time thing – it doesn’t happen annually, as many have been led to believe.

8. Roses Were Initially a Big Part of Father’s Day Celebrations

While this is now a nearly-forgotten tradition, handing roses to fathers and father figures was a thing during Father’s Day celebrations. In churches, daughters would dress smartly and then hand roses to their fathers as the mass continued.

It was also common for children whose fathers were still alive to pin red roses on their clothes on Father’s Day to honor their parents. Those whose fathers were deceased pinned white roses on their attires.

9. Father’s Day Is Celebrated on December 5 in Thailand

Because there is no standard rule for celebrating Father’s Day, the Thai commemorate it every December 5, which is also the king’s birthday. They traditionally take the day to carry out good deeds, with most people giving blood as a show of selflessness. In modern times, there have been fireworks for Father’s Day celebrations in Thailand.

10. Father’s Day is Called “Mannertag” in Germany

In Germany, Father’s Day is called “Mannertag.” Fathers in the region take the day to pull wagons filled with beer across the streets and into parks. They drink themselves silly while eating traditional regional food. Alcohol-related traffic accidents are usually at an all-time high on this day.

11. President Richard Nixon Was the First to Recognize Father’s Day in the United States

Before 1972, Father’s Day wasn’t recognized as a national holiday in the United States. President Richard Nixon was the first to sign it into legislation, assigning it the third Sunday of June. The dates change annually.

12. Children Might Have Coined the Word “Dad”

Most people call their fathers “dad,” a word believed to have been coined by children. “Dada” is among the first words kids can say as they learn to speak. So, scholars believe that might have been the origin of the term, which is universally accepted.

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Last Update: June 17, 2024