There are two days during the year when we honor our parents. Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, while the third Sunday in June will be Father’s Day.
These are opportunistic celebrations. Many of us in today’s busy world need an “excuse” to pay tribute to our parents. Before we know it, it could be too late! Our nurturing and training has passed, but our parents deserve a touch of appreciation.
A most severe moment in a person’s life is when the parent-child bond is broken with the death of a parent ... or the death of a child.
Mother's Day or Father’s Day, can be an emotional time when a parent is gone.
Mother’s Day is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in May or April, as a day to honor mothers and motherhood.
Father's Day is the corresponding day for the father, which will be June 20 this year.
Mother’s Day emerged from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. There was an annual festival to Cybele, a great mother of Greek gods.
The ancient Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to Juno, though mothers were usually given gifts on this day.
In Europe there were several old traditions where a specific Sunday was set aside to honor motherhood and mothers. It was called Mothering Sunday. Mothering Sunday celebrations are part of the liturgical calendar in several Christian denominations, including Anglicans. On the Catholic calendar it is marked as Laetare Sunday.
International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time in 1909, in the U.S.
A “Mother's Day Proclamation” by Julia Ward Howe was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States. Written in 1870, Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation was a reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.
The Proclamation was tied to Howe’s feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level.
In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” for Mother’s Day and created the Mother's Day International Association.
In naming the holiday, Jarvis was specific about the location of the apostrophe. It was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.
This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the U.S.
Father's Day is a day honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 52 countries and on other days elsewhere.
Father's Day was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting. It is also celebrated to honor and commemorate our fathers and forefathers.
Father's Day involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities. The first observance of Father's Day is believed to have been held on June 19, 1910 through the efforts of Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash.
It took most of the century to make the holiday official. In spite of support from the YWCA, the YMCA and churches, it ran the risk of disappearing from the calendar.
Where Mother's Day was met with enthusiasm, Father's Day was met with laughter and holiday support gathered slowly.
In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father's Day celebration, and then in 1924 President Calvin Coolidge recommended Father’s Day be established. Despite these efforts, proposed legislation was defeated.
It was not until 1957 when Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers.
President Lyndon Johnson made a proclamation that the third Sunday of June to be Father's Day in 1966, but it wasn’t made an official national holiday until a proclamation by President Richard Nixon in 1972.