As with Mother’s Day, which we celebrated recently, many countries around the world have their own traditions and dates for a day set aside for honouring fathers and fatherhood. Celebrated on the third Sunday of every June in Canada, the United States, and numerous other nations, Father’s Day as we know it here coincides with the transition from spring into the warm days of summer.
The contemporary North American Father’s Day began in the United States over a century ago, through the efforts of a woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd. When she was sixteen, her father had been left to raise Sonora Louise and her five younger siblings to adulthood on his own, after the children’s mother had died in 1898. Later known as “the mother of Father’s Day,” Sonora thought highly of her father and of the role of fathers in society, and is said to have been inspired to create a special holiday for fathers after hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day in 1909.
Sonora Louise felt passionately that there should be a day to show gratitude and appreciation for fathers and their important contributions to their homes and communities, and had originally suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, as a day for her community to recognize fathers. Planning issues deferred the date though, which is how the first American Father’s Day celebration came to be held at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington on the third Sunday of June 1910. At the celebration, red and white roses were passed out to honour fathers still living and those who had passed away.
Canada soon also adopted the tradition of a day to honor dads, which Sonora Louise worked over the course of decades to have made an official national holiday in her country, inspired by her great esteem for fathers, especially her deep love and respect for her own father, who she cared for in his final years before he passed away, and for her father-in-law. In addition to her work to promote the official recognition of Father’s Day, Sonora Louise was also known for her poems and her paintings of roses, which became a flower synonymous with Father’s Day.
Similar to the equally beloved holiday of Mother’s Day, which Father’s Day complements, though dates and traditions vary, what unifies the holiday is the spirit of the day, which often includes enjoying a special meal to mark the occasion. In a 2010 interview from an episode of Northwest Profiles produced for the centennial celebration of Father’s Day, Barbara Dodd Hillerman, the granddaughter of Sonora Louise, recalls that “As a family, we celebrated Father’s Day like a lot of families, with a nice dinner, gifts for my father, cards, and…one added feature is, I always sent out a Father’s Day card to my grandmother each year.” She also says of her grandmother, whose dedicated efforts led to official recognition of the day we now celebrate as Father’s Day: “I think my grandmother’s a challenge to live up to, for all of us, actually. She had a dream, and she fulfilled her dream – and, I hope, for the benefit of many others.”
Whether your household is planning to celebrate a special dad’s day on a picnic, at your dining table, or outside on your patio, Let’s Cook is happy to offer a range of options for enjoying a special meal during the week of Father’s Day 2021, or to send as a wonderful gift or a surprise for a special father figure, who may be a neighbour, friend, brother, uncle, or grandfather.
To all of the many great dads and father figures throughout our community and surrounding area, we extend best wishes for a very Happy Father’s Day – from our kitchen to you!
Written by Cathy, Let’s Cook Content Manager