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Father’s Day

Father's Day is an opportunity to let your dad know just how much he means to you - spending time with him, sending cards, giving him gifts, or going out somewhere special, such as for a family meal, or even a weekend away. The annual celebration takes place worldwide, although on different dates.

Families in the UK will celebrate Father's Day 2018 on Sunday 17th June, as it's always held on the third Sunday in June. There are many other countries who also mark the occasion in June, including Ireland, the United States, Argentina, South Africa, Singapore, France, India, Greece and more.

Father's Day takes place in September in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji and in December in Bulgaria and Thailand. No matter what the date, the meaning is the same - dads everywhere are treated to a wonderful day, and we show them how much they are loved and valued.

In modern times, the celebration has also come to include grandfathers and even father figures, with a new generation of cards appearing on the racks, with greetings such as, "you're like a father to me."


Origins of Father's Day

There has been much debate on how Father's Day began, with some people believing it has the same origins as Mother's Day. While the latter is documented as having begun in the Christian church in Europe during the Middle Ages, there's no documented evidence of Father's Day celebrations taking place at the same time.

Instead, it appears to have originated in the United States in the early 20th century – sadly, as the result of a massive tragedy that struck the mining community of Monongah, in West Virginia, in 1907.

An explosion in a coal mine owned by Fairmont Coal Company killed 360 miners. Hundreds of children were left orphaned as a result of the disaster, as more than 200 of the miners who died were fathers.

Local resident, Grace Clayton, was left devastated by the tragedy. She approached the local pastor, Rev Robert Thomas Webb, of the Williams Memorial Church (now the Central United Methodist Church) to suggest creating an annual event to honour fathers. The pastor agreed this was a wonderful idea, and he designated 5th July 1908 as the first Father's Day celebration.


Church re-enactment

A historic letter written in 1908 by Williams Memorial Church congregation member, Ward Downs, has been preserved by his grandson. It asks Congress to establish Father's Day as an official recognised event.

He described how the pulpit was decorated with ripened sheaves of wheat and members of the press were invited to witness the event. He mentioned the "many favourable comments" subsequently made by reporters in the newspapers. However, Father's Day wasn't recognised at the time as a national holiday, despite Mr Downs' eloquent plea.

Grace Clayton didn't live to see the fruits of her labour, as she died in March 1958 - 14 years before President Richard Nixon dedicated a holiday for fathers in the United States in 1972.

Every year, the clergy and congregation at the Central United Methodist Church take part in a re-enactment of the first Father's Day service. This brings to life the true story of why the event began and draws the close-knit community together to remember why the day is so important.


Worldwide event

Although it is largely accepted that Father's Day began in 1908 as a result of Grace Clayton's suggestion, initially it was more of a local celebration. Father's Day began to spread across the United States in 1910, following a campaign by Sonora Dodd of Arkansas.

As the daughter of Civil War veteran and farmer William Jackson Smart, the 27-year-old was the oldest of six children. Their mother, Ellen, had died in childbirth in 1898 and William raised the children alone. They moved to Spokane, Washington, where Sonora lived for the rest of her life.

After hearing a sermon in 1909 in honour of Mother's Day, she felt there should be a similar day to honour fathers everywhere, particularly in the light of her own dad raising six children as a single parent.

She suggested to the church that Father's Day could be celebrated on her own dad's birthday, 5th June, but the church chose 19th June to give them more time to prepare for the first national event in 2010.

The first reference to Father's Day in the UK was in the early 20th century - apparently inspired by the American celebration.


Father's Day gifts

Most people make the effort to visit their dad in person on the big day, but even a small act such as a phone call to tell him how much you care is appreciated. The event is a great time for retailers, as there are many purpose-made gifts - especially items such as mugs, slippers or pyjamas, proclaiming, "World's Best Dad!".

Other traditional gifts include toiletries, alcoholic beverages, or personalised gifts. These can include photos of the children on mugs, mouse mats, calendars, T-shirts and other items.

For bricks-and-mortar retail outlets, it can be challenging coming up against online retailers in the battle for Father's Day trade, and this is why your retail premises should be as welcoming as possible. Fit out your shop with the best possible display equipment, not only for Father's Day or other special occasions, but all year round.

Whatever the size and style of your retail premises, KAS Shopfittings supplies a wide variety of shop fittings including counters, slatwall and other display equipment. Contact us for further information about our products and nationwide delivery service.

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