Divine, Father, c.1882-1965, African-American religious leader, founder of the Peace Mission movement, b. probably near Savannah, Ga. and named George Baker. After preaching in the South, he moved to Harlem (1915) in New York City, became one of the neighborhood's biggest landlords, acquired wealth through other businesses, including restaurants and grocery stores, and began styling himself Major M. J. Divine, later Father Divine. Although once dismissed as a cult leader, he built the largest religious movement in northern ghettos during the Great Depression. His role as an early civil-rights activist—he led antilynching campaigns, instituted economic cooperatives, and organized political action against racial discrimination—has come to be more appreciated. The movement spread beyond New York City to other places in the United States and abroad, sometimes after the group sent whites to purchase property in segregated areas. During the 1940s, his health and influence declined, but his movement symbolized the progressive spirit in the black church and helped define the church's active role in the civil-rights movement.

See S. Harris, Father Divine (rev. ed. 1971); K. E. Burnham, God Comes to America (1979); R. Weisbrot, Father Divine (1984); J. Watts, God, Harlem U.S.A. (1992).

Joseph, Father (François Leclerc du Tremblay), 1577-1638, French Capuchin monk, a confidant and agent of Cardinal Richelieu, generally known as the Éminence Grise [gray eminence]. Combining the elements of a mystic and of a Machiavellian politician, he devoted his life with equal energy to missionary work and to the shady and delicate diplomatic negotiations with which Richelieu entrusted him. He dreamed of a crusade against the Turks and of the restoration of Roman Catholicism throughout Europe, yet he lent his services to a policy that strengthened Protestantism and the Ottoman Empire at the expense of the Catholic house of Hapsburg. Rumors ascribed to him an evil influence over the cardinal. It is more likely, however, that Father Joseph was a pliable instrument in the cardinal's hands and that his influence on the events that led to the entry of France into the Thirty Years War has been vastly exaggerated. Unlike his master, Father Joseph sought no material rewards. He is the subject of a study by Aldous Huxley, Grey Eminence (1941, repr. 1969).
Prout, Father: see Mahony, Francis Sylvester.
Damien, Father (Damien De Veuster), 1840-89, Belgian missionary priest and saint, originally named Jozef De Veuster. He went to Hawaii (1864) as a Picpus Father (Father of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary). He was ordained (1864) in Honolulu and worked among the islanders for several years. In 1873, at his request, he was sent to the lepers' colony on Molokai, where he labored until his death from leprosy. Attention was called to Father Damien by a tract in his defense by R. L. Stevenson, An Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde, addressed to a minister who had made some slanderous insinuations against Father Damien shortly after his death. In 1936 his body was removed in great state from Molokai to Antwerp. He was canonized in 2009.

See biography by G. Daws (1973).

Father's Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Father's Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, and special dinners to fathers and family-oriented activities. In 2008, it was celebrated on June 15 in many countries. It originated in Spokane, Washington. In 2009, it will be celebrated on June 12 in many countries.

Although Ms. Dodd of Washington was the first to solicit the idea of having a Father's Day observance (while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in church), the very first Father's Day observance didn't transpire for many years. That first observance was held in a church in Fairmont, West Virginia. "Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia is believed to have conducted the first Father's Day service on July 5, 1908 at the Central Church of Fairmont".


Although normal English punctuation guidelines indicate that the holiday should be spelled "Fathers' Day" (as it is a plural possessive), common usage dictates that the ostensibly singular possessive "Father's Day" is the preferred spelling.


The officially recognized date of Father's Day varies from country to country. This section lists some significant examples, in order of date of observance.
Islamic calendar
Occurrence Dates Country
13 Rajab June 18 2008 Iran
Gregorian calendar
Occurrence Dates Country
March 19 Bolivia
Italy (Festa del Papà)
Spain (Día del Padre)
May 5 Romania (Ziua Barbatului)
May 8 South Korea (Parents' Day)
Ascension Day May 1 2008
May 21 2009
First Sunday of June June 1 2008
June 7 2009
June 5 (Constitution Day) Denmark
Second Sunday of June June 8 2008
June 14 2009
Austria Belgium
Third Sunday in June June 15 2008
June 21 2009
June 20 2010
June 19 2011
June 17 2012
June 16 2013
June 15 2014
June 21 2015
People's Republic of China*
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Hong Kong
Philippines Puerto Rico (15 June 2008 was third Sunday of June)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom
United States
June 17 El Salvador
June 21 Syria
June 23 Nicaragua
Last Sunday of June June 29 2008
June 28 2009
Second Sunday of July July 13 2008
July 12 2009
Last Sunday of July July 27 2008
July 26 2009
Dominican Republic
Second Sunday of August August 10 2008
August 9 2009
August 8 Taiwan
First Sunday of September September 7 2008
September 6 2009
New Zealand
Second Sunday of September September 14 2008
September 13 2009
New Moon of September September 29 2008
September 18 2009
First Sunday of October October 5 2008
October 4 2009
Second Sunday of November November 9 2008
November 8 2009
December 5 Thailand

*In China (under the title of Republic of China, still under Nationalist rule at the time), Father's Day on August 8 was first held in Shanghai in 1945.

International history and traditions


Father's Day on Argentina is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, but there have been several attempts to change it to August 24 to honor the day when the "Father of the Nation" José de San Martín became a father.

On 1953 it was proposed to the General Direction of Schools of Mendoza Province the celebration on all educational stablishments of a Father's Day on August 24 in honor of José de San Martín, and it was celebrated for the first time on 1958, but it was not included on the scholar calendar due to the pression of several groups, and it started being celebrated on the third Sunday of June.

The schools on the Mendoza Province kept celebrating Father's Day on August 24, and, on 1982, the Provincial Governor passed a law declaring Father's Day on the province to be celebrated on August 24.

On 2004, several proposals to change the date to August 24 were presented to the argentinian Camara de Diputados on a single unified project. It was approved, and it was passed to the Senate of Argentina for final review and approval. The Senate changed the proposed new date to the third Sunday of August, and scheduled the project for approval. However, the project was never treated on the Senate on the planned session, which caused its failure.


In Germany there is no such thing as Father's Day as celebrated throughout the western world. There are two terms and/or events of an older origin that while similar in name, have entirely different meanings. Vatertag, is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called men's day, Männertag, or gentlemen's day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine or beer (according to region) and traditional regional food, Hausmannskost, which could be Saumagen, Liverwurst, Blutwurst (Blood Sausage), vegetables, eggs, etc.

Some parts of Germany (such as Bavaria and the northern part of Germany) call this particular day "Vatertag", which is the literal equivalent to Father's Day.

Roman Catholic tradition

In the Roman Catholic tradition, Fathers are celebrated on Saint Joseph's Day, commonly called Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, though in most countries Father's Day is a secular celebration.


In Taiwan, Father's Day is not an official holiday, but is widely observed on August 8, the eighth day of the eighth month of the year. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the number 8 is . This pronunciation is very similar to the character "爸" "bà", which means "Papa" or "father". The Taiwanese, therefore, usually call August 8 by its nickname, "Bābā Day" (爸爸節).


In Thailand, Father's Day is set as the birthday of the king. December 5 is the birthday of current king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).

United States

In the United States, the first modern Father's Day celebration was held on July 51908, in Fairmont, West Virginia or on June 19th of the same year, in the state of Washington. Today, Father's Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June.

In West Virginia, it was first celebrated as a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton, who is believed to have suggested the service to the pastor, is believed to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after the deadly mine explosion in nearby Monongah the prior December. This explosion killed 361 men, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. Another possible inspiration for the service was Mothers' Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away.

Another driving force behind the establishment of the integration of Father's Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent reared his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis's efforts to establish Mother's Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father's birthday, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. The first June Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, WA, at the Spokane YMCA.

Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. President Woodrow Wilson was personally feted by his family in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

In recent years, retailers have adapted to the holiday by promoting male-oriented gifts such as electronics, tools and greeting cards. Schools and other children's programs commonly have activities to make Father's Day gifts.

According to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans are expected to spend at least $11 billion on gifts for Father's Day in 2008. This is about $7 billion less than the amount spent on Moms for Mother's Day, which is more steeped in traditional gifts, some of which tend to be more expensive than Father's Day gifts. In economic terms, the average per capita spending on Father's Day is expected to be in the range of $27.60 in 2008. .

See also


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