The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. However, it was not until 1972–58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official–that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States. Father’s Day 2018 occurs on Sunday, June 17.
Father’s Day is not a federal holiday. Organizations, businesses and stores are open or closed, just as they are on any other Sunday in the year. Public transit systems run to their normal Sunday schedules. Restaurants may be busier than usual, as some people take their fathers out for a treat.
Background and symbols
There are a range of events, which may have inspired the idea of Father’s Day. One of these was the start of the Mother’s Day tradition in the first decade of the 20th century. Another was a memorial service held in 1908 for a large group of men, many of them fathers, who were killed in a mining accident in Monongah, West Virginia in December 1907.
A woman called Sonora Smart Dodd was an influential figure in the establishment of Father’s Day. Her father raised six children by himself after the death of their mother. This was uncommon at that time, as many widowers placed their children in the care of others or quickly married again.
Sonora was inspired by the work of Anna Jarvis, who had pushed for Mother’s Day celebrations. Sonora felt that her father deserved recognition for what he had done. The first time Father’s Day was held in June was in 1910. Father’s Day was officially recognized as a holiday in 1972 by President Nixon.