4 surprising facts about Father's Day
1. Washington was the first state to celebrate Father's Day.
In 1909, Spokane resident Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother's Day sermon at her local church when she had the idea to try and establish a similar day to honor the hard-working fathers of the community. Dodd was the daughter of a widower and Civil War veteran named William Jackson Smart, who raised six children on his own after his wife died during childbirth.
She contacted local church groups, government officials, YMCAs, businesses, and other official entities, hoping to gather the community to recognize fathers around the state of Washington. The campaign Dodd embarked upon would eventually culminate in the first statewide Father's Day celebration in 1910.
2. That Father's Day takes place on the third Sunday in June just happened by accident.
While Father's Day always takes place on the third Sunday of June now, that date was actually a compromise after the original turned out to be unrealistic. Dodd's goal was for the holiday to be observed on June 5 to land on her father's birthday, but when the mayor of Spokane and local churches asked for more time to prepare for all the festivities involved, it was moved to the third Sunday in June, where it remains today. Officially, the first Father's Day celebration took place on June 19, 1910.
3. Roses were originally a big part of the Father's Day celebration.
The first Father's Day included a church service where daughters would hand red roses to their fathers during the mass. The roses were also pinned onto the clothing of children to further honor their fathers—red roses for a still-living father and a white rose for the deceased. Dodd also brought roses and gifts to any father in the community who was unable to make it to the service. This gave birth to the now-nearly-forgotten tradition of roses as the customary flower of Father's Day.
4. Father's Day is a big day for the humble greeting card.
Father's Day means big business for the greeting card industry. The holiday is the fourth most popular day for exchanging cards, with approximately 72 million flying off shelves annually. Hallmark—which has been producing Father's Day cards since the early 1920s—boasts more than 800 different designs for dad, with humor cards accounting for 25 percent of the cards sold. The NRF estimates that cards account for 58 percent of all Father's Day gifts—whether the person honors dad only with a card or includes it with a larger gift.