When did Fathers Day Start? A Brief History.

May 28,2023 | JAMIE SMALLEY

Father’s day in 2023 in the U.K falls on Sunday the 18th of June. In case you are wondering who choses when Father’s day in the UK is celebrated, it happens every year on the third Sunday of June.

If you’ve only just realised it is three weeks away, do not worry, there’s still plenty of time to buy a gift. Here at Masters of Mayfair we have a perfect selection of luxury gifts to treat your father.

We were curious as to the history of Father’s day. We’ve assembled a history of the day, and found some interesting facts about why and how it’s celebrated.


What is Father’s Day?

Traditionally fathers will receive gifts of thanks from their sons, daughters and the whole family will enjoy a Sunday dinner together as well as fun family activities such as playing games or going for a family walk.

Father’s day is all about appreciating and celebrating the special male role models in our life. It’s a day so many get joy from, and this year will perhaps be an extra special year because we weren’t able to celebrate last year due to stricter rules during the pandemic.



How did Father’s Day Start?

The history of Father’s day starts with the founding of Mother’s day, a tradition born in 1907, when Anna Jarvis held the first Mother’s Day service of worship at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, USA. Inspired by the success and presence of celebrating mothers, Father’s Day was born just a couple of years afterwards.

The first time Father’s Day was celebrated nationally was on 19 June, 1910, in the state of Washington USA. Father's Day is meant to complement Mother's Day, the celebration of mothers, and typically families spend Father's Day and Mother's Day together.

Many historians believe Grace Golden Clayton was the founder of the first Father's Day in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. A year and a half before, Monongah, a nearby town, suffered a mine explosion killing more than 360 men, over 200 of these men were fathers and left behind their widows and over 1,000 sons and daughters.

Clayton was deeply moved by the incident and went to her Pastor, Reverend Robert Thomas Webb, of the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, (now known as Central United Methodist Church) initiating the idea of a special day for fathers to be honoured and remembered. The event had the largest gathering in the town's history and boasted the first sighting of a hot air balloon which gained significant press coverage. 

However, the church community didn’t celebrate it again, and it seems that it was more linked to the mining accident than a serious attempt at a national holiday.

In 1909, the year after the ‘Father’s Day’ in West Virginia, a woman called Sonora Smart Dodd made it her mission to set up a national Father’s Day. Upset by the fact that there was a Mother’s Day, but no corresponding day for fathers,

Dodd petitioned her local community and government to change this. Originally, she wanted Father’s Day to be on June 5th, which was her own father's birthday, as a way of honouring him. He was a Civil War veteran who had raised six children on his own after his wife died during childbirth.

Washington state celebrated its first Father’s Day in June 1910, although it was delayed until June 16th.

Father’s Day slowly spread to other states, however for years it was never as popular as Mother’s Day. This is partly due to women seeming to be more sentimental, and so therefore more appreciative of gifts and expressions of thanks. Ideas such as this seem outdated to us now, but it was what many men thought, and the day didn’t always go over well. 


Father’s Day's rise to popularity in the UK

The day does not have a long tradition in the UK, only becoming a national institution after being used as a tool by advertisers during World War 2 to promote the troops out on the field.

During the years after the end of the second world war the history of Fathers Day finally begun to evolve into how it exists to the present day. Local economies promoted the days as they received a boost from buying gifts and cards.

Fun fact: In the 1930’s in America, there was a campaign to replace mother’s and father’s day with a single parents day however this was quickly defeated, likely because the local economy got a boost from people buying gifts for two separate events.

Now over 100 years old, Father’s Day has gone from a concept to a globally celebrated day to show appreciation for your father, and in more recent days, to celebrate male role models in your life.

While the dates that this day is celebrated vary across the world, the most popular day for the celebration is the third Sunday in June, with the UK, USA and Canada all observing Father’s Day on this date. The agreement of the latter three is in stark contrast to the counterpart Mother’s Day, which in the UK is not only held on a different day to the US, but is not held on the same day each year either.

 father taking sons on a boat trip

Continuing the tradition in the 21st century 

We at Masters of Mayfair proudly endorse the continuation of this tradition and look forward to celebrating our Father’s on June 18th.

If you still need a gift to show your father how much you appreciate them, then please consider our range of quality sleep accessories which are perfect for the occasion.

Shop for Fathers Day in our Store and find the perfect gift.



Thanks to:

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash