Father’s Day History and Famous Fathers
Father’s Day History and Famous Fathers
Here is the history of Father’s Day, and some interesting information you may not know about famous fathers I know you know. And a very funny video to make your day!
History of Father’s Day
Just as I researched the origin of Mother’s Day (see link way below), I decided to do the same for Father’s Day. After copious and diligent research, here are the results:
1 – The practice of honoring one’s father may have begun about 4,000 years ago … more or less.
2 – It happened in Babylonia (now Iraq) … perhaps. A particularly apt location, don’t you agree? A father. A baby-lonia. So, what if that is a bit of a stretch?
3 – A young child named Elmusu or Elm usu or El musu depending on the source you read, gave his father the first Father’s Day message that we are aware of. His father’s name? Why “Father,” of course.
4 – The Father’s Day message? Good health and a long life … we think.
5 – We do know that Elmusu a/k/a his other spellings carved his Father’s Day message on a mud clay tablet. There were no pencils then. No pen. No paper. Not even crayons. What happened to Elmusu? No one knows. What happened to his father? Ditto. What happened to the clay tablet message? Ditto.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.” – Sigmund Freud
Genuine History of Father's Day
Now here is what we do know about the more recent and verifiable history of Father’s Day.
Father’s Day was invented so the manufacturers of greeting cards would have another holiday besides Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day to sell us greeting cards. No, not true. The idea for such a holiday began with a real person. It was a woman named Sonora Smart (Mrs. John B.) Dodd who is also known as the Mother of Father’s Day.
Sonora lived in Spokane, Washington and attended a sermon in her church in 1909 about the meaning of Mother’s Day. This gave her the idea to create a special holiday so that children could honor their fathers as well. Her own father, William Jackson Smart, was the inspiration for this holiday. In 1898, her mother died in childbirth and her father was left to raise her and her five younger brothers including the newborn infant on a farm in remote eastern Washington.
When Sonora grew up she realized the strength and selflessness shown by her father in raising his six children as a single parent. She took her idea about honoring fathers to the Spokane Ministerial Alliance. She suggested that June 5th which was her father’s birth date be established as a day to honor all fathers. The pastors needed more time to prepare appropriate sermons so June 19, 1910 was designated as the first Father’s Day holiday.
"To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter." - Euripides
Very Special Gifts for Father
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made the holiday permanent in 1972.
Father's Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure: stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers and guardians. You may be interested to know that neckties still lead the list of Father's Day gifts followed by hammers, wrenches and screwdrivers.
By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.
Footnote One: The U.S. Census Bureau reports there are more than 66 million fathers living in America. The Greeting Cards Association states than almost 95 million Father’s Day cards will be given this year. .
Footnote Two: Roses are Father's Day flowers. You wear red roses for a living father and white roses for a father who is deceased.
Laughing Baby to Make Your Day
Famous Father Number One
King Lear in the play of the same name by William Shakespeare is one of the most famous fathers in literary history. This play of madness, murder and tragedy involves the estrangement of King Lear’s loving daughter, Cordelia, as he divides his kingdom between his other two daughters.
The naïve king believed that if his daughters told him they loved him, then they did. He did not understand that a child may disagree with a parent but still love him. Here’s a brief summary: King Lear asks his three daughters to speak of their love for him so he can decide which one most deserves his inheritance. His youngest, Cordelia, who loves him deeply is the most honest in her dialogue about her complaints so he disinherits her.
He moves in with his other two manipulative daughters, Regan and Goneril (you know right away she is no good; her name sounds like a disease). They both soon destroy his belief in their undying love for him. Disillusioned, he wanders into a storm. Cordelia arrives to save the day with the French army to restore her father’s kingdom. The two make up but are soon taken captive by Edmund – he’s the villain – who is seeking the throne.
Very sad ending: Cordelia dies, Lear is so filled with grief, it kills him. Regan and Goneril fight and both die. Only happy ending: Edgar, who is the rightful heir to the kingdom, takes the throne.
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.” William Shakespeare
What you may not know
The play, "King Lear," has a very tragic ending: both Lear and Cordelia are dead at the end. During the 18th and 19th centuries, this sad, disastrous ending was much criticized, and alternative versions were written and performed. In these new versions, the leading characters survived and Edgar and Cordelia were married - despite the fact that Cordelia was already married ... to the King of France.
Famous Father Number Two
In grade school every American child learns that George Washington is called the Father of our country. He was the first Commander-in-Chief during and after the Revolutionary War, and the first President of the United States of America.
Before he became the president, Washington was a farmer. He grew large crops of marijuana on his farm and promoted its growth. This was In the 1790s when marijuana was grown mainly for its industrial value as hemp and for soil stabilization. It wasn’t until many years later that the recreational and illegal use of “grass” became popular.
What you may not know
George Washington did not have wooden teeth. He had false teeth made of cow’s tooth, hippopotamus ivory, metal and springs – all of which fitted very poorly distorting the shape of his mouth.
Geprge did not chop down a cherry tree. A fellow named Parson Mason Weems who wrote his biography confessed that he invented this anecdote about George as a young boy to illustrate his adult heroic qualities.
George did not throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River. There were no silver dollars when George was a young man. This myth was circulated to demonstrate his strength.
George was the only U.S. President who did not live in the White House. It was not completed until after his death.
Here is a video guaranteed to make you smile, even chuckle out loud:
Look, Pa, I'm skateboarding!
Famous Father Number Three
Since Brad Pitt is the father of six children with his partner, Angelina Jolie, he deserves a place in the famous fathers' list. The pair are known popularly as Brangelina and have three children of their own: Shiloh born in 2006 and twins, Knox Leon And Vivienne Marcheline born in 2008. They also have three adopted children: Maddox, Pax Thien and Zahara. Their decisions to adopt inspired many of their fans to also adopt children from orphanages.
As a two-time winner of People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" title (1995 and 2000), Pitt began dating Jennifer Aniston who was starring in the TV sitcom. “Friends.” They were married in 2000 and divorced in 2005. Soon after Brad Pitt began dating actress Angelina Jolie (they co-starred in the money-making film, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”) The family currently splits their time between Los Angeles and New Orleans.
What you may not know
In an October 2006 interview with Esquire Magazine, Pitt said that he and Angelina Jolie would marry “when everyone in America is legally able to marry.”
“A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Oldest Father - Number Four
This elderly bearded gentleman is most visible around New Year’s Eve. In various countries, he is used as the personification of the previous year (the Old Year) handing over the duties of time to the Baby in diapers who represents the New Year.
Father Time is usually dressed in a robe, carrying a scythe and an hourglass or some other time-keeping device to depict the constant movement of time. This image derives from many sources including that of the Grim Reaper (Death) and Chronos, the Greek god of time.
“If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.” – Bill Cosby
What you may not know about New Year celebrations
The Chinese New Year, Yuan Tan, takes place between January 21 and February 20. The exact date is fixed by the lunar calendar in which a new moon marks the beginning of each new month.
January 1st is an important date in Greece because it is not only the first day of the New Year but it is also St. Basil's Day. St Basil was one the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church.
In Austria, New Year's Eve is called Sylvesterabend which is the Eve of Saint Sylvester.
In Scotland, New Year's Eve is called Hogomanay or Night of the Candle. Foods such as three cornered biscuits called Hogmanays are eaten.
© Copyright BJ Rakow 2010, 2011. All rights reserved.