A Brief History of Father's Day

With the commemorative day just around the corner, we take a look at exactly how the occasion in which we pause to remember and honour our dads and other father figures began, and how it’s acknowledged around the world.

The celebration of Father’s Day is actually held on different dates around the globe, with each region maintaining their own traditions and festivities.

This day of celebration for fatherhood is said to date back to the early 1500s when the Catholic Church supported its celebration on Saint Joseph's Day, otherwise known as 'The Feast of Saint Joseph'. The day reveres the "Nourisher of the Lord" (as referred to in Catholicism) or "the putative father of Jesus" (as known in Southern European tradition), and so was a fitting time to mark appreciation for Fathers.

In Roman Catholic European countries, it has been celebrated on 19th March, but in the Coptic Orthodox Church, the day is celebrated on 20th July.

To begin with, the debate as to whether it should become a worldwide day of observance remained contentious, with a 1908 proposal from Grace Golden Clayton, credited as being the “first person to suggest a one-time memorial for fathers”, being rejected despite her worthy motivation to honour men (many of whom were fathers) who lost their lives in the recent US West Virginia coal mining disaster.

The following year, however, the daughter of an American Civil War veteran and student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sonora Smart Dodd, convinced the Spokane Ministerial Alliance to celebrate Father's Day worldwide after learning of the newly recognised Mother's Day.

She held her father in extremely high regard, especially as he raised her and her younger siblings alone after the death of her mother and felt strongly that the efforts of fathers around the world should be acknowledged.

Interestingly, the day of observation was initially met with disdain in Australia, with newspapers writing scathing editorials and poems which considered the idea to be asserting male dominance or “supremacy” over the household. Thankfully the day was eventually welcomed, just as with Mother's Day, as a day to simply show love and appreciation to our parental figures.

In most countries, including the UK, the day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, after US President Lyndon B. Johnson settled on the date in 1966 when he stated “In the homes of our Nation, we look to the fathers to provide the strength and stability which characterize the successful family[...]If the father's responsibilities are many, his rewards are also great – the love,
appreciation, and respect of children and spouse”. It was later signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

In France the holiday was traditionally a Catholic celebration, known as Fête des Pères, and wasn't officially decreed until 1952 due to the commercial success of lighter manufacturer Flaminaire's campaign to highlight the idea with the advertising campaign, “Our daddies told us, for Father's
Day, they all want a Flaminaire”. Now, it is traditional in France to give red roses to fathers or leave white roses on the graves of the fathers who have passed.

According to folklore and customs expert Steve Roud, Father's Day didn't enter into popular culture in the UK until soon after the end of World War II and writes (somewhat vaguely) in his book The English Year (2006) that it was “not without opposition”.

Today we celebrate the day by showing Dad just how much they mean to us, and how we appreciate all the little (and big) things they do to enrich our lives. Whether that's through handmade gifts and cards, breakfast in bed, a few beers, a big day out...or even just letting them enjoy a day to themselves, there are lots of ways to show we care.

Head over to our Interiors website for some gorgeous gift ideas...

For those who enjoy a tipple, we have a great range of drinks cases, bottle openers, hip flasks and stylish leather trays.

If they like a little lustre, we have a wide range of mirrors and lamps in metallic and pearlescent finishes.

And for those who like to keep things neat and tidy we have a beautiful range of lacquered wood and leather trays – perfect for organising whist adding a touch of style to any space.

Whilst we are taking a moment to celebrate the amazing men in our lives, let's draw attention to our gallery where we publish work for nearly twenty talented male artists (as well as a vast number of gifted female artists, of course), including sculptors Adam Binder, Adam Paddon, Fred Gordon, Geoff Jeal, George Bingham, Hamish Mackie, Michael James Talbot, Philip Jackson, Rudy Morandini, Simon Gudgeon, and William Montgomery; wildlife artists Anthony Dobson, Jake Winkle, and Justin Tew; land and seascape artist Gary Walton; and narrative artists Adam Kolakowski and Chris Ross Williamson.

Head over to our online gallery to browse through the impressive collection of sculpture, limited edition prints and original paintings from this gifted group...you may even find a special gift for Dad.

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