How to Spell Father’s Day

The spelling of Father’s Day has always had some controversy. Some believe it should be spelled Fathers’ Day having the apostrophe after the letter s instead of before. In order to understand the spelling of Father’s Day you must first know a little history behind Father’s Day.


The celebration of Father’s day was first inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fatherhood. To be more specific the first observance of Father’s day took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5 1908. This celebration was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton. She decided to throw this celebration for the lives of 210 fathers who were lost in the Monongah mining disaster several months prior. But unfortunately since West Virginia didn’t officially register the holiday, most recognize the first Father’s Day celebration being held in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910. This celebration was organized by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was raised by her father who was widowed after his wife died.


A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted.  In 1957 Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers. In 1996, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring father, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s day. Six years later Father’s Day was made a permanent national holiday.


The name of Father’s Day is usually understood as a plural possessive, meaning “day belonging to fathers. Which would under normal English punctuation guidelines is spelled Fathers’ Day. The most common spelling is Father’s Day as if it were a singular possessive meaning “day belonging to father”. In the United States Dodd used the “Fathers’ day” spelling on her original petition for the holiday, but the spelling “Father’s Day” was already used in 1913 when a bill was introduced to U.S. Congress as the first attempt to establish the holiday and it was still spelled the say way when its creator was commended in 2008 by the U.S. Congress.


Since Father’s Day is a holiday that is used to represent all fathers, it needs to have the apostrophe to show the possessive form of a plural noun. This is how it was declared when Father’s Day became an officially recognized holiday. While it was long debated and seen as an unofficial holiday until the 1970’s when congress signed it into law, it now is seen as a great day to celebrate the fathers in our lives.


Many people struggle to understand the date of Father’s Day as it is not like Christmas which is on a specific date. Father’s Day is always on the third Sunday in June and it will always remain on this date as it was officially set this way by Congress. Father’s Day is seen as a day in which children are able to express their love for their fathers and they are able to provide them with cards and gifts. Many times children are not always able to show affection to their fathers so having an officially recognized date makes it much easier for them to find a way to provide their fathers with love and affection.


If you are new to Father’s Day the common gifts include a card, a nice gift, or something that shows him you appreciate him in your life. This might come in the form of breakfast in bed or some other thing that shows you care for this man in your life.


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