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Father’s Day – Facts About Fathers, Worldwide Observances and Gift Ideas
About 4,000 years ago, a boy named Elmus wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life by carving a Father’s Day message into a card made of clay. No one knows what happened to Elmus or his father, but the tradition of honoring fathers on a special day has continued for years in countries around the world.
The idea for Father’s Day was conceived by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children alone in the countryside farms.
Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia is believed to have held the first Father’s Day service in 1908 at Fairmont Central Church.
President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized the 3rd Sunday in June as Father’s Day by presidential proclamation in 1966, but the holiday did not become permanent until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a presidential resolution officially declaring the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in United States.
Facts about fathers
There are an estimated 64.3 million fathers in the US. US Census: Unpublished data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation
The number of single fathers is 2.3 million, up from 393,000 in 1970. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 18 percent are men. US Census
It is estimated that in 2008 there were around 140,00 stay-at-home fathers. These married fathers with children under the age of 15 stayed out of the workforce for at least a year primarily to take care of the family while their wives worked outside the home. These fathers cared for 234,000 children. Among these stay-at-home fathers, 54 percent have two or more children US Census: American Families and Living Arrangements: 2008
The youngest father in the world is a 6-year-old from China.
Les Colley (92 years 10 months) was the oldest dad in the world.
Of the 11.3 million preschoolers in the US whose mothers are employed, 25% are regularly cared for by their father during their mother’s working hours. This amounted to 2.9 million children. US Census: Who Takes Care of the Children? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005
In 2008, there were 1.8 million single fathers in the US. Currently, among single parents living with children, 16 percent are men – eight percent are raising three or more children under the age of 18, while about 51 percent are divorced, 25 percent have never been married, 19 percent are separated, and 5 percent is a widow. US Census: American Families and Living Arrangements: 2008
53% of children under the age of 6 ate breakfast and 71% ate dinner with their father every day in 2006. The corresponding percentages who ate with their mother were 58% and 80%. (The percentages of children who had breakfast with their mother or father did not differ significantly from each other.) US Census: Children’s Day: 2006
36% of children under 6 had 15 or more outings with their father in the past month, since 2006. Children ages 3 to 5 were read to by their fathers an average of 6 times in the past week, since 2006. US Census: Children’s Day: 2006
50 percent of all Father’s Day cards are bought for dads. Almost 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are bought for husbands. Other categories include grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles and someone special.
While Mother’s Day was the biggest holiday for phone calls in 2006, Father’s Day was the busiest for COLLECT calls. (The overall busiest day of the year in 2006 for phone calls was the Monday after Thanksgiving. However, with cell phone use on the rise, “collect” calls are expected to decrease.
Father’s Day is the fourth largest greeting card holiday in the United States, with 110 million cards exchanged annually.
World Father’s Day is celebrated according to the calendar date.
March 14 (24 Esfand) – Iran
March 19 – Belgium (Saint Joseph’s Day), Bolivia, Honduras, Italy, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Spain
May 8 – South Korea (Parents’ Day)
Ascension – Germany (Herrentog; drinking day, no paternity celebration)
First week of June – Lithuania
June 5 (Constitution Day) – Denmark
Second Sunday of June – Austria, Ecuador, Belgium (secular celebration)
June 17 – El Salvador, Guatemala
Third Sunday of June – Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
June 23 – Nicaragua, Poland, Uganda
July 30 – Vietnam
Second week of July – Uruguay
Last week of July – Dominican Republic
Second week of August – Brazil
August 8 – Taiwan
First week of September – Australia, New Zealand
New Moon in September (Bhadra according to the lunar calendar) September 11 – Nepal
First week of October – Luxembourg
Second week of November – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden
December 5 – Thailand
As “non-traditional” family structures become more common, any nurturing man – “big brother,” brother-in-law, uncle, neighbor, or perhaps another special “father-like” man is likely to be honored on Father’s Day.
Nine out of 10 Americans say they look forward to receiving personal letters and cards because the cards allow them to stay in touch with friends and family and make them feel important to someone else.
Although Americans appreciate email, text messaging and phone calls for helping them communicate with family and friends, most Americans say they prefer an old-fashioned handwritten card or letter to make someone feel really special.
Regardless of which day you celebrate, the point is to make Father’s Day special for the man you respect. There are many gifts there, but if you really want to make someone feel special, reconnect them with past memories and feelings through personal photos. And how do you do it? Take it easy! See Mimi’s letters personalized for you, they can be personalized for anyone – father, brother, uncle, etc. Make this a truly special Father’s Day for someone you value and respect!
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