History.com details how Father's Day — which is Sunday — originated as a holiday in the United States.
1. How did Father's Day start?
On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.
2. When was the first Father’s Day celebrated as a holiday in the United States?
Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish a Mother's Day equivalent for male parents in Spokane, Washington. Government officials supported the idea and Washington state celebrated the first statewide Father's Day on June 19, 1910.
3. How did the holiday grow?
President Woodrow Wilson honored Father's Day in 1916 by pressing a button in Washington, D.C. that sent telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane. President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day in 1924. A movement in the 1920s and 1930s arose to scrap Mother's Day and Father's Day altogether in favor of a singular Parent's Day, but the Great Depression derailed the efforts as struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father's Day a "second Christmas" for men. President Richard Nixon, in the middle of a hard-fought re-election campaign, signed a proclamation in 1972 making Father’s Day a federal holiday.
4. When is Father's Day?
The day honoring fathers is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June. This year, it's Sunday, June 20.
5. How is is celebrated?
Economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts, like neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards.
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