Father’s Day: Traditions, History, & a Fun Free Printable!

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In the United States, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. It’s a special day dedicated to celebrating dads (and father figures).

Fathers are recognized for their hard work, love, and dedication by their children, young and old. From barbecues to the classic tie, the day is spent showing how much dads are admired. 

A peek at the Father's Day silly story printable

    The History of Father’s Day in the U.S.

    The first Father’s Day is marked as June 19, 1910, in Washington state. However, the idea didn’t catch on quite as easily as Mother’s Day, so it wasn’t until 1972 that it became an official day to honor fathers.

    Decades of events led up to the first official Father’s Day. Here’s a quick timeline President Woodrow Wilson officially declared Mother’s Day a holiday 58 years before Father’s Day being recognized on a yearly basis.

    On July 5, 1908, a church in West Virginia church sponsored an event in memory of 362 men who died months before in an explosion in the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. The day honored fathers, but still did not spark an annual event.

    In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd of Washington state, set out to establish a day in honor of fathers, just as Mother’s Day had done. As one of six kids raised by a widower, it was her mission to recognize dads for all they did for their families.

     June 19, 1910 marked the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day in the state of Washington, but it was another 14 years before there was any annual recogition of this holiday.

    In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge encouraged state governments to observe Father’s Day.

    At the start of WWII, the day was seen as a way to honor American troops. By the conclusion of the war, it had become a national institution.

    Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first proclamation to honor dads annually. Six years later (in 1972), it became a federal holiday when President Nixon signed Proclamation 4127. 

    How is Father’s Day Celebrated?

    There are as many ways to celebrate Father’s Day as there are fathers. Each family adds their own personality to the day and usually the day is spent doing things Dad enjoys or eating foods he likes.

    Similar to Mother’s Day, dads are shown love and appreciation through cards, store-bought gifts, and handmade treasures. While most children skip the flowers and candy moms receive, it’s not uncommon to spend the day with dad around the barbecue and his favorite hobby or game. 

    There are some generally accepted practices for the day as they are widely enjoyed: gifts of a tie for Dad (everything from a classic work tie to an “ugly tie” gag gift), a family barbecue, calling those who are far away, gathering together with generations (father, uncle, grandfather), and so on.

    Traditions From Around the World

    Did you know that different countries celebrate on different days? That’s right! While the United States celebrates dads on the 3rd Sunday of June, it’s not the same in other parts of the world.

    The date and celebration of Father’s Day around the world can be quite different. In fact, in Latin America and parts of Europe, dads are recognized on March 19th. This marks St. Joseph’s Day; a traditional Catholic holiday.


    Vatertag or Herrentag, is Germany’s day for fathers, but has a much different take on celebrating. The 40th day after Easter Sunday is recognized as Father’s Day as well as Ascension Day.

    German males camaraderie and adventure is embraced on this day. Spending time together is encouraged, as they celebrate each other and their friendships over good food and drinks, with plenty of time outdoors.


    Father’s Day in Italy is celebrated on March 19, commemorating Saint Joseph’s example of fatherhood to Jesus.

    Italy rises to the occasion with street parades, bonfires, and incredible food all around.


    The second Sunday in August in Brazil aligns with a Catholic tradition. The feast day of St. Joachim, honors the father of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

    This day often aligns with the World Cup; a sport close to the heart of Brazilians. Fathers gather with friends and family to watch the football matches as one giant celebration.

    Free Father’s Day Printable Activity

    This Father’s Day, help the kids give dad something as unique as he is. From this fun Mad-Lib style printable to a delicious home-cooked meal, surprise him with a gift that will bring lasting memories.

    Wishing dad’s everywhere a very Happy Father’s Day!

    To get your free fill-in-the-blank Father’s Day printable, click the picture below. Download, print, and fill it in for a fun gift!

    A peek at the Father's Day silly story printable

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