Saturday, 16 June 2012

FATHER'S DAY - A SHORT HISTORY


The men in our lives - they are always there, in the background – with a shoulder to lean on and a steady love that is too often taken for granted. Once each year, on the third Sunday in June, there is a chance to remind fathers, and the men who step in when fathers are not available, that all of their quiet efforts are appreciated.

You may think that Father's Day is a modern invention, but the truth is that a Babylonian youth named Elmesu carved the first known Father's Day card in clay nearly 4,000 years ago. His special message wished his father good health and a long life. Fortunately, modern cards are a bit easier to fit in the mail box!

Mother's Day and William Jackson Smart of Spokane, Washington were the inspiration for an official day to celebrate Father’s Day in the United States.

Mr. Smart was a widower who raised his six children after his wife died giving birth to the youngest. He was a single parent for 21 years. This may not seem amazing in the 21st century, but in the 1800s it was unheard of for a man to raise children alone...and even today being a single parent of six young children is heroic!

Smart’s daughter, Mrs. Sonora Smart-Dodd (Mrs. John Bruce Dodd), got the idea for Father’s Day in 1909 while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at her church. She encouraged local churches to institute a Father's Day observance the following year on a Sunday in June, the month of her father’s birthday. Through her efforts, interest in the celebration of Father’s Day grew and spread to other cities, states and countries. She also encouraged wearing roses on Father's Day in honor of fathers. A red rose was worn for fathers who were still living and a white rose honored fathers who had died.

Many congressional resolutions proclaiming a national Father’s Day in the United States were introduced through the years. President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day with a presidential proclamation in 1966, but the holiday was not really made permanent until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a presidential resolution that made the third Sunday in June officially Father’s Day in the United States.

Most people around the world celebrate Father's Day, but the dates to honor dads are not the same everywhere. In many countries the customs and traditions may be very different than the ones you know.

The earliest record of Father's Day was found in the ruins of Babylon. A young boy named Elmesu carved a Father's Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago. He wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life.

No one knows what happened to Elmesu or his father, but the tradition of having a special day honoring fathers has continued through the years in countries all around the world.
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