Sunday June 18th sees the celebration of Dads, Fathers, Grandfathers, Step-fathers, Fathers in law and Fatherhood or Father’s Day as we know it better, celebrated every third Sunday in June. It is the day dedicated to sending the old chap a card, take the old fella out for a bite to eat or down to the local for a beer or two, maybe mow the lawn for him, breakfast in bed, bake him a cake, buy him some socks, or a sweater, some slippers or that kinda thing.
The day has been celebrated for well over 100 years now and is an American import – wouldn’t you know it? – and the first known celebration or observance of a Father’s Day was held on July 5th in Farmont, West Virginia, after a local mining accident had killed 361 men, 260 of whom were fathers leaving around a thousand fatherless children.
Two years later in Spokane, Washington a lady called Sonora Dodd, having heard a sermon about Mothers Day, (which was already established some 5 years before) told her Pastor that she wanted a day to honour fathers like her own who had single-handedly raised six kids and originally suggested June 5th as a date for the celebration (her own fathers birthday), but the Pastor did not have enough time to plan for the June 5th date and pushed it back to the third Sunday in June and on June 19th 1910 the first Father’s Day sermons honouring fathers were heard throughout the city.
Father’s Day for the next fifty years or so, faded in and out of national popularity and importance, whilst the celebration of Mother’s Day was firmly established. It was not until 1972, when President Nixon finally decreed that Father’s Day should be recognised as a national holiday in the US, that the idea of a day to recognise the work and role of Fatherhood became embedded in the calendar and was quickly adopted all over the world.
It falls on different days in different countries, in Croatia for instance it is held on March 19th (St Joseph’s Day), but in Bulgaria it is held on December 26th. Here in the UK we followed the American model and adopted the third Sunday in June, as do the vast majority of nations around the globe.
Father’s Day is also celebrated differently in different parts of the world and in Germany for instance, in certain regions, groups of men celebrate Vetertag by going into the woods with a wagon of beer, wines and meats and sing songs, tell bad jokes and generally entertain themselves in a largely debauch stylee. Heavy drinking is rife and much falling over, rolling around on the floor and speaking fluent drunkineese is the unsophisticated flavour of the day. In Thailand, children will present their fathers with a Canna flower and wear yellow in honour of the King, the Father of Thailand, as he was born on a Monday and yellow is the colour of the day for Monday in Thailand.
So what to do with the old man on the big day? Yes, you can always book a restaurant, but they are always packed on Father’s Day and can often be a disappointing experience, with overwhelmed service crews trying to satisfy the spike in demand – we’ve all been there. Yes, the pub is of course an option, but lacks a little imagination and yes, you can of course do nothing, working on the basis that “no one gives a toss about Father’s Day anyway”, as one of my chums bitterly noted after being completely blind-sided by his own offspring last year, “I’m sure it was just an oversight”, was my fumbled and hopelessly inadequate response, “nothing, not even the Missus remembered”, which then started the debate about whether partners/wives/mistresses/girlfriends should send a card or not? opinion was divided in the group, there was sadly no consensus.
Anyway, here in Lancashire and the Northwest, happily we are spoiled rotten for things to do on Father’s Day and there is a whole range of events and great days out for Dads, Mums and kids too that you can all enjoy together, however, please do come and visit us at Rowley’s Bistro and Bar in Blackpool or the Ilex Bistro and Bar at Cark in Cumbria – I promise you, we will look after the old man really well.
Now the more grammatically observant amongst you may be ready to query the fact that it should be Fathers’ Day, not Father’s Day, well the reason it is Father’s Day is …… well actually, it is a very long and boring story so just trust me on this one, it is Father’s Day – just go with it and please make the effort to remember the day, because it does matter and whilst Mums are brilliant, speaking as a Dad and Grandfather, a little card with a nice note is just great to receive and the handmade one I had from my granddaughter last year, was the most precious thing to receive.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m doing the real ale trail ……………………..