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Father's Day turns 110 this year: Celebration should go back to the basics

At the first Father's Day celebration, young women handed out red roses to their fathers during a church service, and large baskets full of roses were passed around, with attendees encouraged to pin on a rose in honor of their fathers – red for the living and white in memory of the deceased. Sonora Smart Dodd, the woman who started the celebration,  brought her infant son along on a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city, bringing roses and gifts to home-bound fathers.

That was the scenario 110 years ago as documented by the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau.
Thanks to Dodd's desire to honor her own dad, and her campaign to designate a day for the man of the house, Father's Day has steadily gained popularity and is celebrated with the same importance as that of Mother's day through the years.

Our 2019 family's dining experience tells it all: Practically all restaurants at the newly opened SM North Park Inn bridgeway was filled more than to its capacity. We waited almost two hours before we can be seated for our turn to lunch at our favorite resto, Aristocrat.
Adjoining restaurants, fastfood, coffee and specialty shops had the same long queues as that of Aristocrat's. The management and staff were apologetic: "This is our first celebration of Father's Day that we are this overwhelmed. We were caught off guard. We didnt expect the influx of family diners this plenty which almost double that of Mother's Day celebration last May."

Of course, that was last year. With the ongoing quarantine, the social distancing implementation and virus scare, it would really be wise to celebrate Father's Day -- and all other celebrations -- at  home.
So for 2020, we ought to go back to the basics -- simple, yet meaningful celebration -- in the presence of every member of the family at home. Maybe like the first celebration we can give flowers again or any small items as token of love and appreciation, a thank you card or note, a kiss and a hug to our sons' first hero and our daughters' first love. For mothers out there, let me add to the definition: fatherhood is the one that completes motherhood.

So Father's Day  celebration comemmorates its 110th anniversary this year. It all began in June 19, 1910 because of a young woman's desire to honor her dad. Dodd of Spokane, Washington,  simply wanted to designate a day for her dad , William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran,  who singlehandedly raised her and his other five children.
Dodd's mother died in childbirth. Growing  up with a happy childhood, she thought of honoring his father in a special way. On hearing a church sermon on Mother's Day in May 1909, the more Dodd became resolute of coming up with a special day for fathers.
The following year, she petitioned for the holiday to be recognized in her city on June 5th, her father's birthday. Luckily Spokane’s mayor at that time heeded. But needing more time to arrange the festivities, he pushed the date back by two weeks, making the celebration to be held on June 19, 1910, and thereafter, celebrated every third Sunday of June.

In 1924, then US President Calvin Coolidge  supported Father'Day celebration "in order to establish closer relationships between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations, according to the Library of Congress."
By 1966, the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued by then President Lyndon Johnson. But it wasn't until 1972 that then President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it a permanent holiday.

Now celebrated in many parts of the world, Father’s Day has become a time to recognize the many different father figures in our lives:  old and new dads, granddads, dads-in-law, stepdads, serious and  funny dads, and all men doing dad duties. There maybe a hundred fatherly types out there -- but without a doubt -- there are  many reasons to honor them.

The young generation has this habit of greeting their lovedones on Face Book and other social media sites.  There maybe nothing wrong about this, but remember not all dads have FB accounts. I know this because my own Tatay (who passed away two years ago) and my husband, and some other men I know don't  have FBs "because we are not fond of broadcasting our life stories there!"
So there. We better greet our dads face-to-face and honor their life and fatherhood every chance we can in celebrations which they could cherish in their lifetime.

Father's Day 2020 quarantine edition
With many “new” stay-at-home dads because of the virus scare, we really ought to come up with surprises to cheer them.
Because of the pandemic, millions of parents have been home full-time, many for the first time in their children’s lives. And while many women are used to working and parenting at home all day, most men do not.
Surely there are lost income and earning opportunities but the quarantine ended up being a good thing for dads who got uninterrupted family time, gave thier kids important daddy-children time, and much-deserved break time for their wives. Moreover, they've learning new virtue which is patience as my young dad friend shared.
For the 3-months hard work, they deserve a break on Father's Day. In Singapore, various groups like the Centre for Fathering, DADs for Life, Families for Life and Mediacorp, have come up with a an online campaign.
Mothers and children are invited to post messages, photos or videos on Instagram with the hashtag #THANKYOUDADSG2020, to appreciate fathers who support the family through the pandemic.
The first 2,000 submissions will receive a Celebrating Fathers Family Pack which includes materials for the Design A Tee for Dad contest with prizes up to S$200 to be won.
Celebrating Fathers 2020, which kicked off on June 8 and ends on July 11, is highlighted with a series of online father-child bonding activities on Facebook called A Day With Dad. These include cooking classes, craft sessions and a music and movement workshop that fathers and children can do together.
For more information, visit

A gift of health and wellness
Now is the time to schedule an annual wellness visit for your dad's primary care physician, providing an opportunity to detect potential health issues early.
Men are known to skip going to the hospital or visiting a doctor even in times of sickness. This behavior may be reinforced by COVID-19, which has prompted some people to skip medical care, including wellness visits or chronic care management. To help encourage health, telehealth resources are now enabling more people to connect with a health care professional, including for urgent medical care and on-going disease management.
For instance, the  Philippine Neurological Association (PNA) has recently accepted telemedicine consultations. Visit the official website at or the trunkline of the hospital nearest them to ask for a neurologist.

Surprises at home
Start the day with a feast fit for a king, a breakfast or brunch of dad's favorite meal and round it out with a morning cocktail (because it's a holiday after all!)
If he's a breakfast skipper, then a sumptuous lunch is called for. Don't forget the sweets to steal his heart. Find or bake the best Father's Day for him, the that best matches his flavor preferences, and then dress it up with decorations that suit his interests.
Movies or Netflix time follows with popcorn and soda to complete the ambiance.
Then have his favorite beer and barbecue in the afternoon. A bike ride in the neighborhood or the nearby park would be fine as well.
Your dad may want to battle out the lazy afternoon over a few board games, or see how well you can work together with complicated jigsaw puzzles. Let him pick which game he wants to start with..
With food and drinks all day, dinner may be light and easy depending on dad's preference.
Wrap the night away with dad
revisiting the best games in sports history.
If he's the type to hunker down in front of the TV and watch his team on Father's Day, then track down their best games for a night marathon.

No matter how grand or simple Father's Day 2020 celebration, it should be something the whole family shall look forward to in the future. It is once in a blue moon that dad was home for a long time and be a real father, literally shielding his kids from harm and health threats of the outside world.


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