The History Of Father's Day: The Spark Notes Version

Father's Day is right around the corner and if you're reading this blog, you likely don't give the day a second thought.

"Yeah, okay... the third Sunday in June is Father's Day. We get it. What do you want for breakfast in bed, Dad?"

But what if I told you that Father's Day has only been a thing for, like, 50 years?

That's right!

Let's rewind a bit... to understand how Father's Day came about, we need to understand Mother’s Day first. Mother's Day was officially recognized in 1914. A day for Mom. And in those days, a Father's Day wasn't even wanted by Dads for two reasons.

1. Mother’s Day was couched in terms of femininity. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson called Mother’s Day a way to recognize “that tender, gentle army—the mothers of America.” The only day we had set aside to honor a parent was girly so why would Dads (especially the men's men of the early 20th century) want something like that?

2. Families were way more patriarchal back then. There were no double-income households. Dads went out and farmed or worked or labored and (most often) were the sole provider for a family. They were already esteemed as the leader of families, so a Father's Day was kind of redundant.

But as the 20th century progressed, so did the idea of fatherhood. There are no longer huge armies of workers toiling away in industrial factories, while women spend hours hand-stitching or washing the family’s clothes. The modern role of father has changed so that mothers and fathers are partners, each taking more responsibility within family life.

Fathers are now seen as significant influences on children. In a sense, today Father’s Day helps to demonstrate the importance and value of fatherhood—and the gifts beyond material goods that a father provides for his children and family.

So... in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order that the holiday be celebrated on the third Sunday in June. And in 1972, under President Richard Nixon, Congress passed an act officially making Father’s Day a national holiday.

And that is the story of why Dads everywhere get to sleep in, eat steak, and go hiking with their kids on the third Sunday in June. Happy Father's Day!