Father’s Day

When there is a day dedicated to mothers, can fathers be far behind? Yesterday was Father’s Day, a day of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. Yesterday was the Father’s Day, a day when we honour not only our fathers, but also our grandfathers, uncles and the other father figures in our lives.

Anyone can father a child, but being a dad takes a lifetime. A father is a girl’s first hero and the importance of a father can’t be underestimated. He is like a superhero who is always ready to take on everyday troubles for his children. The significance of a father is beyond words as he is the person who works tirelessly to fulfil the requirements of his family. Fathers play a role in every child’s life that cannot be filled by others. This role can have a large impact on a child and help shape him or her into the person they become. To honour the contribution of all such fathers and fatherly figures and to celebrate the paternal bonding, a special day is observed every year as Father’s Day.

Children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self confidence.

Fathers not only influence who we are inside, but how we have relationships with people as we grow. The way a father treats his child will influence what he or she looks for in other people. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how his children relate with other people. For a young girl, her father shows her what a good relationship with a man is like. If a father is someone who loving, gentle, strong and valient, a perfect foil to her mother, his daughter will look for those qualities in men when she’s old enough to choose her life partner. For a son though, he would model himself after his father’s character. Boys will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. As human beings, we grow up by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same. When a father is absent, young boys look to other male figures to set the “rules” for how to behave and survive in the world.

In Catholic countries of Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 as Saint Joseph’s Day since the Middle Ages. In America, Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd, and celebrated on the third Sunday of June for the first time in 1910. It is held on various days in many parts of the world all throughout the year, often in the months of March, May and June. Complementing other days like Mother’s Day, Siblings Day and Grandparents Day, Father’s Day is celebrated across the world in many forms.

A customary day for the celebration of fatherhood in catholic Europe is known to date back to at least 1508. The day is usually celebrated on March 19 as the feast day of Saint Joseph, who is referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini or Nourisher of the Lord, in Catholicism and the putative father of Jesus in southern European tradition. This celebration was brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese. The Catholic Church actively supported the custom of a celebration of fatherhood on St. Joseph’s Day from either the last years of the 14th century or from the early 15th century, apparently on the initiative of the Franciscans. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the celebration of fatherhood is also observed on St Joseph’s Day, but the Copts observe this on July 20, in a celebration which may date back to the fifth century. In addition to Father’s Day, International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 in honor of men including boys.

The day which is mostly celebrated today originated in the United States. This day was not celebrated in that country until the 20th century outside of the catholic traditions. People started celebrating in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting. After Anna Jarvis’ successful promotion of Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia, the first observance of a day honoring fathers was held on July 5, 1908, in West Virginia. In 1911, Jane Addams proposed that a citywide Father’s Day celebration be held in Chicago, but she was turned down. On June 19, 1910, a Father’s Day celebration was held in Washington state by Sonora Smart Dodd to honour her father Willday and felt fathers should also have a similar holiday to honour them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday in June and on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated.

However, in the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying and it faded into relative obscurity, but she started promoting the celebrations again in the 1930s. She had the help of retailers who realised that such a celebration would help promote their products and services, which are specifically targeted at men.

Other countries celebrate the day in different dates across the year. In the southern hemisphere, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea celebrate it on the first Sunday in September. So irrespective of when you celebrate this day, on the day you do celebrate it, do thank your father and the father figures in your life for everything they have done for you, for moulding you to become the person you are today.

To all the fathers and father figures who read this piece, Happy Father’s Day to you!

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