All About Father's Day for Kids

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When is Father's Day

Father's Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It was made a National Holiday in 1966. However, Father's Day in Australia and New Zealand is on the first Sunday of September.

A History of Father's Day

There are several claims relating to the origins of Father's Day, but the one which seems to be the most likely, and is the most claimed, speaks of a lady by the name of Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, of Spokane, Washington, USA.

Sonora sought to celebrate the life of her own father, William Jackson Smart, a US Civil War veteran who brought up Sonora and her siblings after their mother had passed away. It was during one of the early Mother's Day celebrations in 1909 that she was inspired to show how thankful she was to her father. Because William's birthday was celebrated on June 5th she asked her Pastor in Spokane to organise a special service for fathers. As there was insufficient time for the Pastor to prepare the service, he agreed instead to perform the celebration of fathers on 19th June, and this started a tradition of the third Thursday in June being the eventually official date for Father's Day, particularly in the USA, but also in a number of other countries around the World.

Seeing at the popularity of Father's Day in US, President Woodrow Wilson (who had officially recognised Mother's Day), approved of this idea in 1916. In 1924 President Coolidge recommended that Father's Day become a National Holiday "to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations".

President Johnson designated the third Sunday in June to he Father's Day in 1966, but it wasn't until 1972 that President Nixon instituted Father's Day as a national observance.

Origin of Father's Day - Other claims

  • As stated earlier, there are several claims behind the origination of Father's Day.
  • Some claim that the first Father's Day church service was held in West Virginia in 1908.
  • Others argue that the ceremony was first held in Vancouver, Washington.
  • The President of the Lions' Club, Chicago, Harry Meek, is said to have celebrated the first Father's Day with his organization in 1915, to stress on the need to honor fathers. He selected third Sunday in June for celebration, the closest date to Meek's own birthday. In appreciation for Meek's work, the Lions Clubs of America presented him with a gold watch, with the inscription "Originator of Father's Day," on his birthday, June 20, 1920.
  • Some historians honor Mrs. Charles Clayton of West Virginia, as the Founder of Father's Day.
  • In countries where Catholic Church holds greater influence Father's Day is celebrated on St. Joseph's Day (March 19).

Elsewhere in the World

In the UK, the celebration is much the same as the US, and held on the same third Sunday of June.

In India, much of the celebration is no different to USA and UK, but one difference concerns the organisation of cultural programs by schools and cultural societies. The idea behind such programs is to inspire children to pay due respect to their Dad and take care of them. Fathers are also encouraged to spend quality time with their children and instil in them noble values and manners.

Father's Day in Ireland is celebrated with typical Irish gusto. It takes place on the third Sunday of June, the same day when several countries, including the US, celebrate Father's Day. The day provides all with the opportunity to honor their father and express affection and gratitude to them. As in many other countries, people treat their father by presenting him with a variety of gifts and allowing them a day of rest. Many adult children take their fathers out for dinner or lunch or treat them with breakfast in bed. People whose fathers have died, pay tribute by giving donations in the name of their father or by performing acts of service.

Interestingly, in quite a few countries, red roses are the official flower for living fathers, while white is the rose color for those who have died.

Father's Day in Australia is celebrated on the first Sunday of September, unlike most of the rest of the world when is celebrated on the third Sunday of June.

On this day, people express their thanks, love and affection for father for all his care and support. Most often children give flowers, neckties, chocolates or other gift to honor their dearest dad. Though the occasion is celebrated privately in households, several clubs and societies organize special programs to encourage and entertain people. Breakfasts with father is a common feature of Father Day celebration in Australia. Various types of games and activities are organized in the Aussie Father's Day get-togethers to strengthen the bond of love between father and a child.

The beautiful island country of New Zealand celebrates Father's Day with much charm and enthusiasm on the same day as bigger neighbor, Australia, ie on the first Sunday in the month of September. Just as in several countries around the world people of New Zealand celebrate the occasion by honoring their father and paying tribute to fatherhood in general.

Children in New Zealand take advantage of Father's Day to pamper daddy with handmade cards, flowers and chocolates. Spending time with father by indulging in joyful activities is another popular way of expressing love and affection for papa on Father's Day in New Zealand.

A Father's Day Prayer - Written by Kirk Loadman
Let us praise those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. Let us praise those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become a good father.
Let us praise those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support. Let us pray for those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children.
Let us praise those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children's lives. Let us praise those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing.
Let us praise those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their step children's love and respect. Let us praise those fathers who have lost a child to death, and continue to hold the child in their heart.

Let us praise those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own.
Let us praise those men who have "fathered" us in their role as mentors and guides.
Let us praise those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children.
And let us praise those fathers who have died, but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us.

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