Father’s Day is Sunday, June 20! Ever wondered how Father’s Day came to be? It’s more than a Hallmark holiday. Father’s Day was first celebrated after the worst mining accident in U.S. history. Learn all about Father’s Day—including fun ideas, quotes, and recipes to celebrate the role of fathers in our lives.
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 for the sacrifies they make, for embracing the responsibility of nurturing and raising children, and for devotion to their family.
When Is Father’s Day 2021?
In 2021, Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 20. This happens to be the same day as the summer solstice (June 20 at 11:32 P.M. Eastern Time), making it the first day of the summer season.
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.
|2021||Sunday, June 20|
|2022||Sunday, June 19|
|2023||Sunday, June 18|
|2024||Sunday, June 16|
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 Activities
If you’re looking for something summery to do on Father’s Day weekend, try out one (or more) of our ideas below… including fishing and grilling!
Maybe you want to go fishing for Father’s Day? Coincidentally, Father’s Day falls under our “Best Days for Fishing” this year!
If you’re fishing on the coast, don’t forget to check the tides before heading out!
Camp Under the Stars
Of course, camping is another great summertime activity to do with dad—and it goes well with fishing!
This year, Father’s Day happens to be the same day as the summer solstice, meaning that it will be the longest day of the year, as far as daylight hours go. While this may cut into your stargazing time, it will make for a special day nonetheless.
Grill Up Some Grub
With summer’s official arrival, there’s no excuse not to grill! Check out this list of our favorite grilling recipes for inspiration.
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 by 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
We’ve collected our very best recipes for dad! Steak sandwiches? Stuffing-breaded pork chops? Our deliciously satisfying recipes will make dad one very happy customer!
Baja Fish Tacos
Cool, tangy cabbage slaw cozies up to crispy fish in these tasty Baja Fish Tacos. They are easy to make and delicious to eat! A good use for a fresh catch, perhaps?
Country-Style Root Beer–Glazed Ribs
These ribs are absolutely juicy, mouthwatering, tender and melt-in-your-mouth.
Bourbon and Brown Sugar–Glazed Salmon
This flavorful salmon recipe is a winner. The marinade adds a lovely flavor without taking away from the salmon.
Stuffing-Breaded Pork Chops
Thanks to the breading, the pork comes out crispy on the outside and deliciously juicy on the inside.
Chicken Wings With Sesame and Ginger
These wings, fully flavored with sesame and ginger, are good cold, too—and great in a picnic basket.
Maple BBQ Ribs
Liven up your next barbecue with these ribs!
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.
Super Summer Sliders
These amazing gourmet burgers will have your mouth watering with delicious toppings, including applewood bacon. This is an upscale burger recipe for a special feast!
Super Steak Sandwich
Serve this satisfying steak sandwich with a fresh green salad. Great for Father’s Day or any summer supper!
Find more great recipes for the grill—from steaks to kabobs!
Almanac Reader Recipes
Here are some of our best recipes “made by dad” (or granddad)—and submitted by Almanac readers!
- Dad’s Chicken and Rice
- Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
- Dad’s Pie Pastry
- Daddy’s Meat Loaf
- Baked Fish (Dad’s Catch)
- Island Beef Teriyaki
- Grandpa’s Banana Bread
- Grandpa’s Baked Beans
Father’s Day Poems & Quotes
Need something to put in that Father’s Day card? Here’s a selection of some of our favorite poems and quotes 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)
“A father’s a treasure, a brother’s a comfort, a friend is both.”
–Benjamin Franklin, American statesman (1706-90)
“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.”
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)
–attributed to Mark Twain, American writer (1835–1910)
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!