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Father's Day In South Africa

The history and origins of Fathers Day

The history and origins of Fathers Day can be traced back more than 4,000 years ago. In Babylon, a son called Elmesu carved a message to his father on a clay card. Elmesu wished his father a long and happy life.

Though fathers have been revered through the centuries, the official recognition of Fathers Day only happened in the early 1900's. Several people are credited for furthering the cause of Fathers Day, but Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd is seen as the key person in making this great celebration happen. Sonora Dodd is seen as the Mother of the Fathers Day Festival.

In 1909, Sonora overheard a a Mother's Day sermon, and begun to recognize the hardships that her father must have gone through while bringing up his family. When Sonora was 16, her mother died during childbirth, and left her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, to raise his six children and the newborn on his own. Sonora pondered the fact that there was a day for mothers, but not for fathers.

Initially, many people laughed at her idea, but her mind was made up. She began a sincere campaign lobbying for the cause of Fathers Day, and finally, her efforts began to show. On June 19, 1909, along with the support of Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), the first Fathers Day was celebrated.

Sonora wished for Fathers Day to be held on the day of her Fathers birthday, but due to time constraints, the celebration was held on the third Sunday in June. And that tradition has lasted throughout the times.

Modern Fathers Day celebrations

Today, Fathers Day is celebrated over the world, and has become a popular festival. Children commonly gift their fathers with Fathers Day cards, and small gifts, such as neckties or other novelties.

Fathers Day in South Africa

In South Africa, Fathers Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June, which means that families get the opportunity to spend the day together. Many South Africans enjoy the day by going out for a picnic, fishing, or a meal in a restaurant.

South Africans use Fathers Day as an opportunity to celebrate and to focus on the important role that Fathers play in nurturing children and building a stronger society.