Sunday is a day for dads — but it wasn’t always like that. Father’s Day is a celebration that began relatively recently, about 106 years ago. If you don’t know its history, read on.
The first Father’s Day occurred in 1910 in Spokane, Washington, according to the Library of Congress. A local woman named Sonora Smart Dodd had the idea to start the tradition after hearing a church sermon about Mother’s Day. Dodd’s mother had died, and she wanted to honor her dad. June 5 was her dad’s birthday, but the events got pushed back to June 19.
By 1916, then-President Woodrow Wilson was aware of Father’s Day, and he participated in a flag-unfurling event that year to commemorate the occasion. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge publicly recognized it, and so did Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. But the tradition didn’t become official until 1972, when Richard Nixon formally declared Father’s Day an annual national holiday.
“To have a father — to be a father — is to come very near the heart of life itself,” Nixon wrote in his proclamation. “Our identity in name and nature, our roots in home and family, our very standard of manhood — all this and more is the heritage our fathers share with us. It is a rich patrimony, one for which adequate thanks can hardly be offered in a lifetime, let alone a single day.”
In that spirit, here are 10 other facts to share with dear old dad:
In recent years, the idea of the “dad bod” has become popular. Urban Dictionary defines “dad bod” as “A guy who has kids and was once in shape and still has guns that can crush beer cans but also with a belly that says I drank those beers and I can eat six slices of pizza in one sitting.”
There are about 70.1 million dads in the United States, according to the United States Census.
One of the recurring jokes in the “Calvin and Hobbes” comic series is that Calvin’s dad is the subject of constant favorability polls.
About 16 percent of dads are stay-at-home fathers, according to Pew Research Center.
A 2015 Harris Poll found dads wanted “a day with the family” for Father’s Day, followed by electronics, gift cards and a home-cooked meal, according to amNY.
About 2 million people are single fathers.
Kids whose dads are involved in their schoolwork perform better academically, according to fatherhood.gov.
The Jay-Z song “Glory” starts with a recording of the heartbeat of his daughter, Blue Ivy, according to Billboard.
Stevie Wonder also wrote a song about his daughter. “Isn’t She Lovely” is about Aisha, who is now 41.
Dads today spend about seven times more minutes with their kids daily than they did in the ’70s, according to the Guardian.