Celebrating Father’s Day | By Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai

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Celebrating Father’s Day 

FATHER’S Day is a day that acknowledges and appreciates the important role played by a father in raising his child up and consequently building a stronger society.

Though fathers have been revered at all times by civilisations across the globe ironically, what was missing until the last century was the official recognition of the significance of fathers in one’s life.

Father’s Day story is the tale of realisation of the need for a Father’s Day festival primarily by Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington DC.

The story narrates Sonora’s unflagging struggle to officially set a day to honour all fathers. Thanks to Sonora, today Father’s Day is celebrated in a large number of countries around the world.

Historians have recorded that there was a tradition to celebrate Father’s Day even thousands of years ago.

Their study say that 4,000 years ago in Babylon, a man called Elmesu carved a Father’s Day message on a clay card.

In his message, Elmesu wished his father a long and healthy life.There is no knowledge as to what happened to this father-son duo but it is believed that several countries retained the custom of celebrating Father’s Day.

The tradition of celebrating Father’s Day as seen today originated in the last century. Though there are several people who are credited for furthering the cause of Father’s Day, there is far greater acceptance for Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd’s contribution.

A doting daughter from Spokane, Washington, Ms Dodd is recognised as the founder of the Father’s Day festival.

The inception of the Father’s Day celebration took place in Sonora’s mind when she happened to hear a Mother’s Day sermon in church.

Sonora, who was 27 years old then, had begun to recognise the hardships her father must have gone through while bringing up his six children alone.

When Sonora was 16 years old, her mother had died during childbirth. Sonora’s father, a Civil War veteran by the name of William Jackson Smart, raised his six children up, including the newborn on his own.

Sonora questioned that if there is a day to recognise mothers, then why not there is a day to honour fathers as well?

Many people laughed at Sonora’s idea.But her will did not droop. She began a sincere campaign lobbying for the cause of Father’s Day.

Her hard work began to show signs of success when Spokane celebrated her first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910 with the support of Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

To pay tribute to her affectionate father, Sonora wished that Father’s Day be celebrated on her father’s birthday on June 5, but it so happened that there was not enough time for preparation and the day came to be celebrated on third Sunday in the month of June.

The noble idea of celebrating Father’s Day became quite popular in the United States so much so that President Woodrow Wilson approved of the festival in 1916.

President Calvin Coolidge too supported the idea but it was President Lyndon Johnson who signed a Presidential Proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1966.

Then in the year 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

Today, Father’s Day has become a highly popular festival.Throughout the world, people thank their fathers and pay tribute to them.

Most commonly, children gift Father’s Day cards and flowers to their father. Neckties are a popular gift on the occasion of Father’s Day.

Due to the tradition of giving gifts, cards makers, florists and gift sellers campaign for Father’s Day festival in a big way and cash in on the sentiments of the people.

A father is the most important member of the family whose love for his children is just like oxygen for the survival of their life.

There is nothing as big that a father cannot do for his children and there is no such sacrifice that he will not do.

Every little thing that he does makes him great.He has that unfathomable energy and the unconditional love in his heart that compels every child to keep following him in the hope of learning a new thing every time.

The patience and perseverance he has to make everything possible in his children’s life is quite a thing that makes him a superhero in his children’s eyes.

It is sometimes perplexing to understand from where he draws such great energy to make his children look at the positive aspect of every situation he may be in.

Father’s Day is a celebration of only one day, but what about the other 364 days of the year?

Do we just sit around and not love our dads?Father’s Day should be celebrated every day of the year because fathers give and do a lot to help their kids.

—The writer is contributing columnist

 

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