Father's Day History, Traditions, and the Best Gift Ideas

Father’s Day, prevalently celebrated worldwide, is a special occasion to honor and recognize the father’s role in our lives. However, this heartwarming tradition has an intriguing history that many people may not have heard before. In this blog, we will dig deeper into the origins of this day, how it has evolved through the years, how it is celebrated in different parts of the world, and the best gifts to make Father's Day a memorable day to cherish. 

The Seeds of Appreciation are Sown

Dating back to the early 20th century in the United States, the initial inspiration for an event dedicated specifically to fathers started to emerge. On the 5th of July in 1908, at a church located in Fairmont, a small town in West Virginia, the first national event was held as a service of commemoration to pay tributes to 361 men who died in a coal mining explosion. Among them, there were up to 250 fathers killed, leaving behind more than a thousand children grown up without a dad. However, this one-time commemoration is not a formal Father’s Day. 

The official concept of Father’s Day truly comes into reality thanks to the relentless efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd, a woman from Spokane, Washington. Inspired by the celebration of Mother’s Day, Dodd was eager to set aside a similar day for all the fathers. She was deeply motivated by her widowed father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and a single parent, who was determined to raise Dodd and her five siblings by himself after his wife’s death. Therefore, she felt compelled to create a special day to honor her dad and all the fathers for their contributions.

In June 1910, Dodd started to hold her first Father’s Day campaign as a national holiday and gained widespread support from local religious leaders. Nevertheless, this day did not immediately become a widely accepted national holiday due to the rampant criticism of many men, including fathers. Simply speaking, they underrated the idea of Father’s Day, claiming that it was overly commercialized. 

In 1924, the President of the U.S., Calvin Coolidge, expressed his support for the observance of Father’s Day. However, until the 1966s, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation, recognizing that Father’s Day would be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June. After 60 years after the first commencement, Father’s Day became a widely accepted holiday in the U.S. after Congress passed an act making it an official national holiday in 1972.


The Gradual Acceptance and Adaptation of the Holiday

Father’s Day encountered initial skepticism since its establishment for various reasons. Many people feared that Father’s Day would diminish the significance of Mother’s Day. In addition, it faced heavy criticism and resistance from men in the society, who claimed such a tribute was more associated with Mother’s Day and considered it far too effeminate to their liking. Even fathers derided that the purpose of Father’s Day was a commercial gimmick for businesses and retailers to earn a fortune from selling more products for gift-giving. 

In the early 20th century, newspapers and media published stories, editorials, and radio broadcasts to spread the concept of Father’s Day to the public. Leveraging this chance, businesses carried out tailored advertising campaigns to promote ties, tools, sweets, and gadgets as ideal presents for fathers. At the same time, Hollywood and film producers made relentless efforts to incorporate Father’s Day themes into their movies and television shows. The delivery of the Father’s Day concept and its heartwarming significance across different channels successfully ingrained the holiday into the national tradition. By hook or by crook, Father’s Day gradually gained initial acceptance and adaptation, making it widely popular up until now.

Besides, the changes in cultural and societal background influence the acceptance of the Father’s Day holiday. In the modern family structure, the roles of father and mother become increasingly equal, with the father partnering with his wife by actively taking on not only childcare but also other household responsibilities. This helped consolidate the intricate connection between the father and children in the family. As a result, Father’s Day, which emphasizes the importance of fathers and the value of fatherhood, becomes a special day for children to express their appreciation to their fathers. 

Father's Day Traditions Around the World

Father’s Day is held on the third Sunday of June in the U.S. On this special occasion, children will celebrate and pay tribute to what their father has done for them. In other words, this day is set aside as a chance to express appreciation and show love to their father for all of the sacrifices that he tries to bestow on his family and children. There are many activities that family members can spend on this day, depending on each family tradition. These can range from a simple call or handmade greeting cards to family outings and barbecue parties. 

The celebration of Father’s Day is also the same in the United Kingdom, both in terms of the date and customs. However, some countries localize the tradition to adapt and fit with their cultures. For example, Father's Day in Mexico, known as “Día del Padre” is featured with races and public events to honor the role of fathers, alongside family gatherings and special meals. Thailand celebrates National Father’s Day on the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Many events and ceremonies are held to honor the contribution of both the King and fathers. Children in Thailand typically give their fathers canna flowers as a sign of gratitude. 


Best Father's Day Gift Ideas for 2024

For a dad who cares about health and wellness, Men’s Multi is a thoughtful and practical present you can consider. Packed with a nutritious profile rich in vitamins, minerals, and three proprietary blends of herbs, this multivitamin is formulated to enhance your dad’s immunity, energy, and overall well-being. Or buy him one-year memberships to gyms, wellness coaching, sports clubs, or high-quality fitness gadgets so that he can stay active and healthy to avoid risks of illnesses or diseases. 

If you have limited means, you can try preparing a hand-crafted art piece or gift basket that is tailored to your dad’s interests. Otherwise, a handwritten heartfelt letter can be a surprising and moving gift to melt your dad from the very first sight. Remember to show words of affirmation for your dad as it can be the best way to communicate your love and gratitude for what he has done for you. 

Lastly, if your dad loves nothing but a nature enthusiast, you can try to create memorable moments with him by opting for a scenic hiking trail that suits his fitness level. It can be in the national park, mountain trail, or a local nature reserve where both of you can plan for a picnic break and engage in meaningful communication whilst admiring the beauty of nature. Try to plan thoroughly and prepare everything from scratch to ensure your dad can experience the whole journey with joy.