Father’s Day is always on the third Sunday in June, which this year (2020) is the 21st. It was invented in 9109 by Sonora Smart Dodd in the USA,. And she did it because she thought there ought to be a counterpart to Mother’s Day.
So to understand Father’s Day you have to start with Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday.
Understanding Father’s Day
Mother’s Day in the UK has a long history, going back to when it was known as Mothering Sunday. Follow the link to our article about it if you want to read more. In a nutshell, it dates back to when a large number of people worked as domestic servants. On Mothering Sunday, the fourth church day of Lent, there were allowed the day off. They were specifically allowed time to go home to pray at their mother church.
So Mothering Sunday had nothing to do with mothers as in ‘mothers of children’.
In the USA Mother’s Day never had that connection with the mother church. In the USA it was the invented by Anna Jarvis in 1908 specifically as a way of honouring mothers. And then in 1914 it was made a national holiday.
From Mothering Sunday to Mother’s Day
The idea spread from the USA back to the UK, where society had changed by war. It had been turned upside down by the deaths in the First World War.
Most of the country houses had gone, and so had domestic servitude. The need for time off to visit the mother church fell away. And a day to honour mother’s took its place.
But the old date – the fourth Sunday of Lent – was kept. Mother’s Day continues to follow the religious liturgical calendar in the UK. That is why the date of moves back and forth in the normal calendar. And that is why it is a different date from the date it is celebrated in the USA.
So now we get to Father’s Day.
Father’s Day and Sonora Smart Dodd
Father’s Day was dreamed up in the USA by Sonora Smart Dodd in 1910.
Dodd invented Father’s Day specifically because she thought there ought to be a counterpart to Mother’s Day. And then the idea spread back to the UK, and so the day never followed the religious calendar. And it is celebrated in both countries on the third Sunday in June. So this year, 2020 that falls on the 21st June.
Dodd’s father was twice widowed. And he brought up Sonora and her five brothers from those two marriages, single handedly.
So when Sonora Dodd heard about the newly designated Mother’s Day, she thought there ought to be something that recognised the devotion of fathers like hers. She wanted the 5th June, her father’s birthday, but the local clergy settled on the third Sunday in June. The day started locally in Washington State where Dodd lived and spread from there. In 1955 President Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s day. And getting in on the act, in 1972 President Nixon made it a national day.
Being a greeting card company, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are part of our calendar. It’s for that reason that we probably spend more time than the average person wondering about the origins of celebrations. And of course, we have cards for these occasions in our catalogue. These five cards are a selection from our Father’s Day cards. And you can see the whole range by following the link here to Father’s Day cards.