By Chef Joey Cancelmo
As we put our flags back into the vault until the 4th of July – June brings us a rather subdued “Sunday” otherwise known as “Father’s Day.” Unlike Mother’s Day, this special holiday tends to revolve around spending the day with ‘Pops,’ instead of the traditional crowded outing to a restaurant (Mother’s Day).
Dads get to cook on their special day, play games with kids and are showered with little things made by their children at school or home, and usually less fancy than the gifts of Mother’s Day. The day is generally celebrated around the world in June, an outdoor kind of day.
The origins of Father’s Day, however, stem back to the Catholics of the Middle Ages. It was held in March, on the 19th of June, that just happened to be St. Joseph’s Day. Coincidence? I think not. Joseph was Jesus’s earth bound dad. The holiday was moved to July, because as name days were often celebrated over birthdays (no one kept track back then), the Joseph’s got their day back. So, over the years (we are talking the 1400s) it was changed to “Mary’s Busband’s Day.”
So, turn the calendar to the 20th century, and after many petitions, Sonora Smart Dodd, a notable teacher, felt bad there was no specific day to honor one’s father. June 19, 1910, was the first official launch of this day now known as Father’s Day. She had reason: her father was a single dad to SIX children after his wife died! Originally, she had hoped for the holiday to be celebrated on the 5th, as it was his birthdate. Once the day was approved, but due to a glitch with her pastor, they had to postpone it, as he did not have a sermon prepared!
So as families celebrated in religious institutions, it was not until 1972, the year of the Ford Pinto, that then President Richard Nixon inaugurated the national celebration of Father’s Day as we know it. All the greeting card companies lived happily ever after!
Australia does not celebrate until September, but then again, they are far away. In 2004, in Greece, Dr. Nicholas Spitalas started a petition in schools for “single fathers” to be recognized in schools. It worked. By 2010 it was official.
There you have it. The quickie version of centuries of celebrations; all countries have their specialties. All families have their traditions.
What is extra special about Father’s Day is it goes multi-generational – there are no Grandfathers or Great Grandfathers this day because everyone loves their Papa!