Father’s Day was celebrated in many countries around the world yesterday. Most fathers seem to take the day in stride; when I called my Dad, he was busy digging through the freezer looking for crab to cook for his Father’s Day meal. At our house, Lord D prepared a wonderful grilled steak feast for myself and son Master James. The day got a bit of an upgrade this year since Lord D’s birthday is today. So while he does not normally like to embrace his Father’s Day or his birthday (totally opposite to me), I did take the opportunity of the double celebration to make him feel a little like royalty with a special cake we will get to later.
Back to Father’s Day, Mother’s Day got more of my attention this year with Mother’s Day tea party ideas with Eccles Cakes, and then the history of Mother’s Day in the US, served with a lovely low fat trifle. Even the establishment of a day recognizing fathers came after Mother’s Day. But like Mother’s Day, it took a child’s devotion to lead the charge for a special day of recognition. What Anna M. Jarvis is to Mother’s Day, Sonora Smart Dodd is to Father’s Day.
The History of Father’s Day
As you may recall from the story of Mother’s Day, florists were quite enthusiastic and supportive of a day which could be commercialized. As the History Channel website explains “The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm–perhaps because, as one florist explained, ‘fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.'”
Also similar to the Mother’s Day movement in the US, it started at church. On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday. The next year, Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910.
Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. However, many men continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”
While it is now celebrated in the UK, Father’s Day did not take off in that region until the 1970’s so sadly Lord Grantham did not enjoy that “special day” of recognition for his fatherly duties.
Books Worth Buying
I have already shared a few recipes from this book, but there are so many stories and wonderful royal family favorites to try. I have the Kindle version so I can take the recipes with me wherever I go. You can also hang out with Darren on his website at www.theroyalchef.com