Father's Day is a special day on the international calendar. According to the literature, it is the day when we “honour our fathers, celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society”. In St. Lucia and many other countries, it is celebrated on the third Sunday of June.
Father's Day dates back to 1909 and was the brainchild of an American woman named Sonora Smart Dodd - dubbed the "Mother of Fathers' Day" - who thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon. She wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart - a Civil War veteran who became widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child.
Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm after the death of his wife.
In 1924, President Coolidge endorsed the idea of a national Father's Day. In 1966, President Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day. In 1972, President Nixon signed the proclamation into law.
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However, in the Roman Catholic tradition, Fathers’ Day is celebrated on Saint Joseph's Day, commonly called Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, though in certain countries Father's Day has become a “secular” celebration. It is also a common practice for Catholics to honor their "spiritual father," their parish priest, on Father's Day.
Fathers’ Day celebrations have different orientations or customisations across different countries.
Argentina has made several attempts to change the date to August 24, to commemorate the day on which the "Father of the Nation" José de San Martín became a father.
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In Australia, Father's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September. The Victoria YMCA carry on with a tradition of honouring fathers and “father figures” by “Father of the Year” awards in 32 municipalities in Victoria.
In Brazil, Father's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of August. That date was selected in the mid-1950s in honor of Saint Joachim, patriarch of family.
In Canada, Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. It typically involves spending time with one's father or father figure. Usually, small celebrations and gifts may be part of the festivities organized for Father's Day.
Today, St. Lucia is historically “celebrating” Fathers’ Day with a thousand-man march – and because a march is a type of protest or demonstration –I asked is Fathers’ Day the best day for a “march”?
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Tangentially, would we celebrate Christmas Day with a Christmas Day march? Or Easter with an Easter Day march? Or Independence Day with an Independence Day march?
Irrespective of the theoretical soundness of the rationale for doing so, my opinion is the timing and context of the 1000-man march are wrong, for the “raison d'être” of Father’s Day according to its founder is “to honour our fathers, celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society”; and I believe in this regard that the organisers of today’s march maybe confused!
I would have preferred if we highlighted and concentrated on Dodd’s vision and honour our fathers and stage the march at some other time instead.
So, Happy Fathers Day with a grain of salt!