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Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

What Is Father’s Day and Why Do We Celebrate It?

What Is Father’s Day and Why Do We Celebrate It?

Father’s Day is a day honoring fathers, and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society, celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 52 of the world’s countries and on other days elsewhere.

Father’s Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Father’s Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities.

The first observance of Father’s Day is believed to have been held on July 5, 1908 in a church located in Fairmont, West Virginia, by Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia at the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South of Fairmont. The church still exists under the name of Central United Methodist Church.

A customary day for the celebration of fatherhood in Catholic Europe is known to date back to at least the Middle Ages, and it is observed on 19th March, as the feast day of Saint Joseph, who is referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini (“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, and in Latin America, Father’s Day is still celebrated on 19 March. 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 Church, the celebration of fatherhood is also observed on St Joseph’s Day, but the Copts observe this celebration on the 20th of July. This Coptic celebration may date back to the 5th Century.

Content for this question contributed by George Johnson, resident of West Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA