The History of Father’s Day

Father’s Day celebrations among European Catholics date all the way back to the Middle Ages when it was originally marked on Saint Joseph’s Day – the legal father of Jesus Christ – on March 19th with a feast. An annual day nominated for honouring fatherhood in Catholic Europe can be traced as far back as 1508, although it could have begun even earlier than that.

In modern times, America was one of the first nations to make Father’s Day an official holiday.

It is said that a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea in 1909, after taking issue with the fact there was a Mother’s Day, but nothing for paternal figures. She was raised by a single father along with her five brothers after their mother died during childbirth, so passionate about celebrating father figures, she started a campaign which saw millions of Americans begin to celebrate Father’s Day every June.

As a result of this, President Lyndon Johnson eventually signed a presidential proclamation officially declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1966. This then became a permanent national celebration in 1972 when President Richard Nixon officially signed the day into law.

The UK had already followed suit by then and had also introduced an official day on the third Sunday in June to celebrate father figures.

This year Father’s Day falls on June 18th, and once again will act as a day dedicated to the paternal figures in our lives and will provide a chance to say thanks for all they do.