Father's Day 2023: When Is Father's Day? | History, Activities & Recipes | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Father's Day 2023: What to Do on Father's Day

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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 18, 2023! Here are tasty recipe ideas to browse, fun activities to plan, and great quotes for your Father’s Day card. Plus, know the real origins of Father’s Day—it’s a moving story.

Why We Celebrate Father’s Day

Father’s Day celebrates and honors the men who have embraced the essential role of fatherhood. On this day, we also thank fathers and father figures (uncles, grandfathers) for the sacrifices they make, for embracing the responsibility of nurturing and raising children, and for their devotion to their families. 

When Is Father’s Day 2023?

Father’s Day is celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, and a number of other countries around the world.

In 2023, Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 18.

Father’s Day Dates
YearFather’s Day
2023Sunday, June 18
2024Sunday, June 16
2025Sunday, June 15
2026Sunday, June 21

Many countries celebrate this holiday at other times of the year. In Australia, for example, Father’s Day is held on the first Sunday of September; in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, on the second Sunday in November; and in some Catholic countries, on March 19 (St. Joseph’s Day).

Father’s Day Ideas 

This year, Father’s Day falls a few days before the summer solstice (June 21, 2023), which makes it the perfect time to kick-off the summer season with a father-focused barbecue, camping trip, beach day, or other outdoor activity!

Who “Invented” Father’s Day?

Like Mother’s Day, the modern American version of Father’s Day has a history that goes well beyond greeting cards. The first known Father’s Day service occurred in Fairmont, West Virginia, on July 5, 1908, after hundreds of men died in the worst mining accident in U.S. history. The Sunday service happened because of the efforts of Grace Golden Clayton, the daughter of a dedicated reverend.

While missing her own dad, who had died in 1896, Mrs. Clayton wanted to honor the many fathers who had died in the mining explosion, which killed more than 360 men and boys, and left about 1,000 children fatherless. Although the Fairmont service was the first known to honor fathers, it did not turn into an annual event, nor was the idea promoted (a large July 4 celebration in Fairmont and a tragic young death from typhoid fever took over the news at the time).

Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. The mother of Father’s Day was raised by a single dad. Credit: Visit Spokane

Father’s Day Gains Momentum

Several other people across the nation had similar ideas throughout the years, but Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd is credited for being the one to popularize it, starting events that led to Father’s Day becoming a U.S. national holiday.

Her story began as she sat listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Mrs. Dodd thought that it might be nice to honor fathers as well. Her father, William Smart, had raised his SIX children alone on his farm in Washington after his wife died giving birth.

Mrs. Dodd proposed to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA that they celebrate a “father’s day.” She chose the 5th of June because it was her father’s birthday.

The idea received strong support, but the good ministers of Spokane asked that the day be changed to give them extra time to prepare sermons on the unexplored subject of fathers. The first Father’s Day in Spokane, Washington, was observed on June 19, 1910 (the third Sunday in June), and became an annual event there. Soon, other towns had their own celebrations.

From Local Celebration to National Holiday

In spite of widespread support, Father’s Day did not become a permanent national holiday for many years. The first bill was introduced in Congress in 1913, but in spite of encouragement from President Woodrow Wilson, it did not pass. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June to honor fathers.

Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring that Father’s Day be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June. It has been an official, permanent national holiday ever since.

Why did it take so long for Father’s Day to pass into law (unlike Mother’s Day, which was quickly embraced)? Read the full history of Father’s Day.

Top 10 Father’s Day Recipes for Dad

Cook for Dad! Our deliciously satisfying recipes will make Dad one very happy customer!

1. Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary and Thyme
This is our go-to flank steak recipe—so mouthwatering and easy to prepare! We like to pair the steak with grilled asparagus—and a garlic smashed potato or Mediterranean pilaf recipe.

Photo Credit: hlphoto/shutterstock

2. Country-Style Root Beer–Glazed Ribs
Is Dad a ribs guy? These are absolutely juicy, mouthwatering, tender, and melt-in-your-mouth. Here’s another rib recipe if it’s more to your liking: Maple BBQ Ribs.

Photo Credit: Cappi Thompson/shutterstock

3. Bourbon and Brown Sugar–Glazed Salmon
If Dad’s not a meat guy, how about salmon? The marinade adds a lovely flavor without taking away from the salmon.

Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

4. Stuffing-Breaded Pork Chops
If you’re cooking indoors, how about some comfort food for Dad? Thanks to the breading, the pork comes out crispy on the outside and deliciously juicy on the inside. 

Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

5. Chicken Wings With Sesame and Ginger
Does Dad like to watch the game? These wings, fully flavored with sesame and ginger, are good cold, too. Great for a picnic basket, too, so a flexible recipe choice!

Photo Credit: Coffeemill/shutterstock

6. Baja Fish Tacos
A good use for a fresh catch, perhaps? Cool, tangy cabbage slaw cozies up to crispy fish in these tasty Baja Fish Tacos. They are easy to make and delicious to eat!

fish tacos
Photo Credit: Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

7. Super Summer Sliders
Dad deserves a super burger! The sweet and savory topping is killer, and the chili base adds an unexpected kick. What an absolutely wonderful combination of flavors!

Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

8. Daddy’s Meat Loaf
From the recipe’s author: “This is how my dad used to make it. Everyone who has eaten it just loves it. I love it because it reminds me of him.”

Photo Credit: Timolina/shutterstock

9. Grandpa’s Baked Beans
 Need a side at your cookout? These are the best baked beans. It’s the ultimate comfort food—so savory and flavorful. 

10. Grandpa’s Banana Bread
If you can’t meet for a meal, how about bringing Dad some banana bread? This recipe comes from the author’s grandfather in Minnesota, who used to make the best breads you’ve ever tasted.

Find some great recipes for the grill—from kabobs to vegetables!

Father’s Day Poems

It’s always tough to think of a fitting message for your Father’s Day card. So, here’s a selection of some of our favorite poems about what being a father means.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small, 
Doing, with courage stern and grim, 
The deeds that his father did for him. 
This is the line that for him I pen, 
Only a dad, but the best of men.
–Edgar Guest (1881–1959)

My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing).
E.E. Cummings (1894–1962)

He never made a fortune, or a noise
In the world where men are seeking after fame;
But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys
Who loved the very ground on which he trod.
They thought him just a little short of God;
Oh you should have heard the way they said his name—‘Father.’
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919)

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life’s companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life’s truths from my father’s lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.
–Edgar Guest (1881–1959)

Father’s Day Quotes

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
–Clarence Budington Kelland, American writer (1881-1964), about his father

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
–Umberto Eco, Italian novelist (1932-2016)

“His heritage to his children wasn’t words or possessions, but an unspoken treasure, the treasure of his example as a man and a father.”
–Will Rogers, Jr., American politician (1911–93)

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.”

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have any great quotes about fathers? Or, some favorite memories of growing up with Dad? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

2023 Almanac Club