Hooray for the dads! Props to the pops! Happy Father’s Day! It’s crazy to think that it’s been a national holiday for less than 50 years, isn’t it? Here are some fun facts about Father’s Day.
What’s the origin of “Papa,” “Dada,” and other names for ‘father’?
“Papa” and its many variations were primarily imitative of the first sounds that young children produce, which include the p, b and d sounds. Baba, dada, and papa are examples of what child-language acquisition experts call “reduplicated canonical babbling,” something universally observed as children enter the babbling phase of language accession.
The term “Dad” was first recorded in the 1500s, along with the more colloquial daddy. Pop is the most recent linguistic twist on affectionate names for our dads, arising in America in the 1830s.
Where does the apostrophe go? Why is it Father’s Day and not Fathers’ Day?
Since it is a day to celebrate all dads, it makes sense that the apostrophe would fall after the s, making the holiday apply to fathers as a whole, right? Well, it does make sense, but that’s not how it is. The short answer for why it’s not? Mother’s Day set a precedent on this fuzzy grammatical issue of apostrophe placement.
The folks at Dictionary.com say, “We can accept the placement with the reasoning that each father matters to his own children, thus the holiday belongs to each individual father.”
Father’s Day started thanks to Sondra Smart Dodd. Dodd’s mother died in childbirth and after hearing a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Dodd decided there should be a corresponding holiday to celebrate fathers.
Dodd got to work, rallied support for her idea, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated by Washington State in 1910.
It didn’t exactly chat on quickly, however. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day but men weren’t thrilled. 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.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Presidential proclamation honoring fathers on the third Sunday in June in 1966, but it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon officially signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday.
Why is Father’s Day in June?
Because Susan Dodd’s father’s birthday was in June. Apparently, she was good with having to buy multiple gifts in a month.
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