As we all prepare to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, September 1, we thought we’d delve into the origins of this special day. In the ruins of ancient Babylon, historians discovered that nearly 4000 years ago a young boy called Elmesu might well have created the first Father’s Day card when he carved a message to his dad on a tablet made out of clay. Elmesu wished his father good health and a long life.
Modern Father’s Day celebrations originated in the US and became a tradition that spread throughout the world. In 1909, 27-year-old Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, from Spokane, Washington, was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and pondered that if there was a day to honour mothers, then why not one for fathers? Sonora’s mother had died during childbirth when Sonora was 16 and her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, raised her and her siblings with much love and care. Sonora was inspired by Anna Jarvis’s struggle to promote Mother’s Day, so she began a rigorous campaign to celebrate Father’s Day in the US. The Spokane Ministerial Association and the local YMCA supported her cause so much that Spokane celebrated its first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. It gained popularity all over US and it came to be celebrated across the world.
As to why Father’s Day is celebrated on a different date in Australia, well, scholars are divided on this. But as long as you treat your dad extra-special on Father’s Day, we think it’ll be OK.