Happy Father’s Day: Here’s why 3rd Sunday of June is meant for celebrating our dads, pampering them with gifts

Historically, since we have and continue to live in a patriarchal framework, child rearing was always relegated to women. Fathers were, not even a few decades away, just a figure of authority, the breadwinner of the household who commanded a considerable amount of respect and in some cases, even fear. However, it goes without saying that not all fathers had been like that, and nowadays, the trend is changing more rapidly than ever, with men being more involved in their children’s lives. So, you may ask, how did Father’s Day come into existence and when did we begin to celebrate it?

The history of Father’s Day, believe it or not, dates back to 1508, as this day was celebrated in Catholic Europe on March 19 to commemorate the feast day of Saint Joseph, who was also known as the fatherly Nutritor Domini (“Nourisher of the Lord”). However, Father’s Day as we know it has a different backstory.

The story goes that an American resident, Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of William Jackson Smart and Ellen Victoria Cheek Smart lost her mother at the age of 16, who died giving birth to her 6th child. After her mother’s death, Sonora with the help of her father William Jackson Smart raised all her younger siblings. During this process, seeing her father being so involved in their wellbeing and upbringing really touched her heart. So, one day, while hearing a Mother’s Day sermon in the church, it occurred to her that a special day should be dedicated to celebrate fathers too.

She reached out to the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and requested them to recognise her father’s birthday, June 5, as Father’s Day – a day on which dads across the world will be celebrated. While the Alliance agreed with the concept, they chose the third Sunday of June to commemorate Father’s Day, instead of her father’s birthday.

In the year 1972, US President Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day as a national holiday in the United States. Needless to say that Father’s Day is a day to celebrate father figures, and recognise their love and contribution in our lives.

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In India, however, this is not a national holiday nor a widely celebrated occasion. While in urban parts of the country the custom to celebrate this day has picked up – which means restaurants are offering discounts, and brands giving sales on this day – it is mostly celebrated by city kids who give their dads cards and gifts or do special things to tell them that they are loved.

Apart from that, in the state of Nagaland, it is a very popular holiday with Sunday services being held on this day.

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