Friday, June 15, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #40: Father's Day Edition

Father's Day is this weekend, for those of you who have them. For those of you who don't, happy Awkward Moments Day.

I celebrate that with booze.

1) Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June in the United States, and some other countries, like Ireland, the UK, and Aruba, of all places. Some countries celebrate Father's Day at other times of the year. In Germany, Father's Day coincides with Ascension Day, the Thursday forty days following Easter. Traditionally, men fill up a small cart, or Bollerwagen, with food, beer and wine and drag it around in the woods whilst getting drunk.

Just another advantage men have in the patriarchy.

2) While more phone calls are placed on Mother's Day than on Father's Day in the United States, Father's Day is the busiest day of the year for collect calls. Because Dad can afford it, I guess, since he didn't spend his entire working life cleaning up after you, like Mom did.

"I'll call him, but I'm not gonna pay for it!"

Father's Day is generally less celebrated than Mother's Day. This may be because more people have mothers than have fathers, and also because people tend to appreciate their mothers more. Also, because Mother's Day is a full one hundred years older than Father's Day, has more momentum?

I guess?

3) The recognized founder of Father's Day was Sonora Smart Dodd, who was one of the six children of William Jackson Smart, a single father and Civil War veteran. After learning about Anna Jarvis and her efforts to establish Mother's Day as a national holiday, she suggested to her pastor that fathers, too, should be honored with a nationally recognized holiday. The pastor agreed, and the first officially recognized Father's Day was celebrated on the third Sunday in June, 1910, in Spokane, Washington.

The celebration of Father's Day remained in Spokane for many years, and faded into obscurity when Dodd moved to Chicago to attend the Art Institute in the 1920s. When she returned to Spokane in the 1930s, she revived the celebration. This time, she got the support of manufacturers of men's products – ties, tobacco, things of that nature.

It was illegal for women to smoke back then.

In 1938 the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers formed the Father's Day Council in order to promote (and commercialize) the emerging holiday. Several attempts by various Presidents to make Father's Day an official national holiday failed, until Richard Nixon succeeded in establishing Father's Day as a national holiday in 1972.

One of his many successful endeavors, to be sure.

4) Those of you from West Virginia (yay West Virginia!) will know that the real first Father's Day was held on 5 July 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South...wait a minute, Methodist and Episcopal?

Someone care to explain that?

The celebration was, in fact, a memorial service for the 361 men killed in the December 1907 Monogah Mining Disaster. The 250 fathers in that group left behind almost 1,000 children. Grace Golden Clayton, who was mourning the loss of her father, Fletcher Golden, to unrelated misfortune, asked her pastor, Robert Thomas Webb, to perform a service honoring the fathers lost in the Monogah Mining Disaster. It is said that Ms. Clayton was inspired by the recent Mother's Day celebration held by Anna Jarvis in nearby Grafton, West Virginia just two months previous.

Clayton's Father's Day celebration didn't catch on, however; it was overshadowed by other events, and Clayton was said to be too shy to promote the event outside of her church.

That's what being shy gets you.