How Do You Say…Father?

Fathers are unique.  This certainly was a sentiment true for Sonora Louise Smart (Dodd) of Spokane, Washington in 1909.  She witnessed the love and devotion of her father William, a Civil War Veteran raise a newborn and his five other children after the death of his wife.  At the age 27, Sonora was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and pondered why there wasn’t a day to honor fathers.  Herein began her hard work and struggle to make certain a date on the calendar would include a Father’s Day.  Initially, after the first celebration of a day for fathers  on June 19, 1910 it was only sporadically recognized throughout the United States.  6 years later, in 1916 it was celebrated in Washington, D.C. and in 1924, President, Calvin Coolidge  urged each state to observe the day. A ‘father’s day’ was a difficult holiday proposition and not consistently recognized.  Some worried it wasn’t manly to receive gifts and flowers, as mothers received on their “day,” and the dads figured they would be the ones footing the bill for such gifts. Current day estimates state that Americans spend more than $1 billion on gifts each Father’s Day (thanks, Dad).

Thanks certainly are in order for the persistence of Mrs. Dodd and others throughout the years.  A wise man said and many agreed the reason to uphold a day for fathers was to “establish more [meaningful relationship] between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.” From Sonora’s initial work in 1909, it was four decades later when President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day! And in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.  So, just over 100 years later we can say decidedly, in many languages ~ Happy (fill in the blank) Day!


Yiddish : tatti Japanese : otosan       Slovenian : ôèe               Estonian : isa                             Arabic : babba

Welsh : tad Italian : babbo              Sicilian : patri           Dutch : vader                            Mandarin Chinese : baba

Venetian : pare        Irish : daidí                    Sanskrit : tàtah                Czech : táta                               Malay : bapa

Turkish : baba Indonesian : bapa        Russian : papa            Croatian/Bosnian : otac         Latin : pater

Spanish : tata Hungarian : édesapa   Romanian : parinte         Norwegian : pappa          Latvian : tevs

Swahili : mzazi Hindi : pita-ji                  Polish : ojciec            Nepali : buwa                           Lithuanian : tevas

Swedish : pappa      Hebrew : abba(h)          Portuguese : pai             Brazilian Portuguese : pai      English : father ; dad ; daddy ;

Slovak : otec German : papi                Persian/Farsi : pedar     Korean:, appa                                          pop ; poppa ; papa

French : papa            Filipino : tatay                Finnish : isä                     Maori : haakoro