Sunday, September 7, 2014

Father's Day Facts and Fun

Some risque content included.

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Father’s Day in Australia is celebrated on the first Sunday in September. That is also the day of celebration of NZ, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

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Some other observances:

23 February:
Russia (Defender of the Fatherland Day)

19 March:
Italy, Spain, 

1st Sunday in June:

2nd Sunday in June:
Belgium, Austria

3rd Sunday in June: 
Canada, China, France, Greece, India, Japan, Netherlands, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, UK, USA

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The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis (above) held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia, US. Her campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognised holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Anna’s mission was to honour her own mother by continuing work she had started and to set aside a day to honour mothers, "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world." Anna's mother, Ann Jarvis, was a peace activist who had cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Due to the campaign efforts of Anna Jarvis, several states officially recognised Mother's Day, the first in 1910 being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honour mothers.

Sonora Smart (above) was 16 years old in 1898 when her mother died, leaving William Jackson Smart to raise Sonora and her five younger brothers on a remote farm in eastern Washington. The widowed Civil War veteran was determined to keep his family together even though, under similar circumstances, many men would have sent the youngest children to live with relatives. His example left an indelible impression on his adoring daughter. 

She moved to Spokane at age 17 after marrying insurance agent and businessman John Bruce Dodd, and the couple had one son in 1909. That same year, while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at Central United Methodist Church, Sonora Dodd thought about her father, who was living at the time, and wondered why fathers didn’t have "a place in the sun, too." "His kindness and the sacrifices he made inspired me," Dodd told the New York Sun in 1936 for an article about the origins of Father's Day. 

Presenting her idea of an annual celebration of fatherhood to Spokane ministers, she convinced the pastors to deliver Father's Day sermons on June 19, 1910. In those congregations, family members wore roses, red for living dads and white for deceased dads, while the mayor of Spokane and governor of Washington issued Father's Day proclamations.

Not content with a local celebration, Dodd spread her passion for a nationally recognised holiday through personal letters, newspaper articles and political avenues. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge suggested that states observe the day, but it was not until 1972, when Dodd was 90 years old, that President Richard Nixon designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day in America. Today, the holiday is celebrated in more than 50 nations. 

Dodd died in 1978 at age 96 and is buried near her husband and her father in the family plot at Spokane's Greenwood Memorial Terrace, where she is remembered as the Mother of Father's Day by a memorial plaque and a meditation garden.

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. . . and some Father's Day fun . . .

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