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Celebrating the beloved men in our lives on Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a date that recognizes so many of the dads, grandfathers, and other father figures in our lives. It’s a date when families gather for cookouts, golf outings, baseball games, or a day at the races. It’s also a date with deep roots in European and American history.

Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day a month earlier, has an interesting back story that hearkens back centuries. AncestralFindings.com writes that Catholics in European countries celebrated fathers each March 19 as part of St. Joseph’s Day. The date commemorated Joseph, the husband of Mary and father to Jesus. St. Joseph’s Day provided an opportunity to reflect on Joseph’s example and emulate his virtues.   

Turning to the United States, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day both have ties to the small state of West Virginia. In 1907, editor Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother. A year later, according to History.com, a West Virginia church remembered the 362 men who had died in an explosion at a coal mine during a Sunday sermon. Father’s Day wouldn’t be officially recognized until the following year when a Washington State woman named Sonora Smart Dodd garnered support for a holiday that was celebrated statewide.  

It took a little longer for fathers to receive national recognition versus mothers, however. Father’s Day became a national holiday in 1972, while Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914. History.com also writes that it took decades for Father’s Day to gain widespread adoption. Chalk it up to the stoicism of fathers who preferred little recognition and found the holiday to be overly sentimental. But World War II changed that notion when Americans looked to celebrate service members returning after the war.  

Monarch Landing treasures the many fathers, grandfathers, and husbands who reside on campus. Residents are encouraged to drop off a small framed picture of their father or a father figure for a window display in time for Father’s Day. We celebrate dads throughout the year and with often male-centric activities like the woodworking shop, model train club, and billiards. It might be a trip to the Father’s Day Picnic hosted at the minor-league Kane County Cougars’ game on the 19th.

Father’s Day is now recognized around the world, though at various times of year: Australia and New Zealand (September), Brazil (August), Thailand (December), and Russia (February), according to BHG.com. The day’s history varies by country, with unique traditions and customs that are fun for the whole family. But it all comes back to that same idea: acknowledging the men who serve as our role models and give so much to their families and society.