The History of Father's Day: All You Need to Know

5 minute read

Happy Father's Day

For one day every year, people dedicate a day to the most important man in their lives. Father's Day is about giving your father, granddad or stepfather gifts and letting them know how appreciated they are. 

While many people celebrate Father's Day, few know where the idea originated. In this post, we're going to reveal the history of Father's Day and what it means to other countries. 

The Origins 

If you think Father's Day is the same as Mother's Day, then you couldn't be more wrong. While Mother's Day is recognised as a Christian day, Father's Day is not. 

We can trace Mothering Sunday back to the 1600s, but people didn't celebrate their fathers until the USA set the trend, and we followed. 

In 1908 362 men were killed in tragic circumstances. The mining event that led to their deaths caused upset in a West Virginian town, and people gathered to mourn their loss. 

The parishioners shared wine, gifts, and food to commemorate those men's memory and show appreciation for the role their father's played in their lives. 

Sonora Smart Dodd

While the event had a significant impact on the attendees, nobody planned to celebrate it again. The church saw it as a way to commemorate the memories of parishioners loved ones and didn't think it could become a yearly event. 

But a young woman named Sonora Smart Dodd set out to make sure Father's Day would happen each year. 

She was upset that people celebrated their mothers, but nobody seemed to care about the role a father plays in a child's life. 

In 1909, Sonora began her campaign to get the local government to set aside a day each year to remember fathers. 

Initially, she wanted it to fall on her father's birthday, but the state of Washington decided to celebrate its first Father's Day in June 2010. 

World War II 

Initially, people didn't show much enthusiasm for Father's Day, which is attributable to the fact that women are regarded as more emotional and appreciative of gifts. But World War II would change the way society viewed Father's Day forever. 

The majority of men would fight for their country, with many losing their lives. Advertisers were determined to cash in on the war's emotional impact and decided to use the very unpopular Father's Day to make money. 

People were more responsive this time because the war meant many were without their parents, and it became so popular, people would even insist on merging it with Mother's Day. 

Advertisers and corporations won the battle and were able to continue to capitalise on both days. 

Father's Day Today

world map

Today, Father's Day is celebrated every year, and it's common for people to buy gifts for the main man in their lives. 

In the UK and USA, the days are celebrated with gift-giving and meals out. There are few similarities between the two - but perhaps the Americans are more sentimental than people in the UK. 

What about other countries? How do they celebrate Father's Day? 

It's important to remember that the dates differ worldwide, but we're going to concentrate on gift-giving and the sentimental elements. 

Portugal, Italy and Spain

Countries like Portugal, Italy and Spain are predominantly Roman Catholic, so Father's Day involves church services. There's also the chance to give gifts and enjoy food together, but these countries tend to focus on the religious aspects. 

New Zealand & Australia

In New Zealand and Australia, their summer occurs during the UK's winter - so their Father's Day takes place in September. Other than the date, it's pretty similar to how the UK and USA celebrate. 


Father's Day in Thailand takes place in December, and it usually involves a speech by the ruling King at the time. The children also give Canna lilies to their granddads and fathers. 


Russia is known as an extremely proud country, and they love Father's Day. It's an excuse for the men to take part in a parade, and the government calls it Defender of the Fatherland Day. 

It's Not All About the Gifts...But They Help

Gifts aren't everything, but a small token of your love is always appreciated. Many think that chocolate is more for women, but according to Statista, plenty of men enjoy their candy fix too. 

While women have the edge over men when it comes to chocolate consumption, they still enjoy indulging. 

Here are some excellent candy choices for men.

USA Sweets 

One solution to the problem of what men want is to give them something different. Candy from the USA is perfect if you're struggling - especially Reese's. 

The peanut butter-based treats are a fan favourite, so you can be sure most men will appreciate sampling them. 

Other popular choices are Hershey's, Jelly Belly and Haribo sweets. 

Chocolate Gift Sets 

It isn't easy to buy chocolate for men, and most people don't want to go the traditional route of a Milk Tray box. 

One solution to this issue is to focus on hobbies and interests. Chocolate gift sets are ideal because they often have a theme. 

We love the football gift from Gwynedd Confectioners, which includes luxury Belgian chocolate. The company also makes a golf set for the more distinguished gentleman. 

There are plenty of excellent chocolate gift boxes to choose from, so you won't have a problem finding something for everyone's preferences. 

Traditional Chocolates 

Father's Day is for all men, and many people also choose to honour their grandparents. Luckily, there are some ideal chocolate gifts for older men, and many have a nostalgic appeal. 

Top choices include:

  • Chocolate Stem Ginger¬†
  • Choc Nibbles¬†
  • Toffee Crumble¬†
  • Chocolate Fruit & Nuts¬†
  • Walnut Whips¬†
  • Chocolate Turkish Delight

You can also opt for traditional chocolate creams that come in a range of flavours, including: 

  • Beech's Fruit Creams¬†
  • Beech's Coffee Creams¬†
  • Whitakers Coffee Collection¬†
  • Whitakers Mint Creams¬†

The Takeaway 

Small tokens of appreciation can go a long way, so make sure you think about what people will enjoy rather than expensive gifts. With such a wide selection available, we have something for everyone. 

Whether you're stocking your shelves or shopping for personal purposes, Appleton's can help you to find the right confectionery that nobody can resist.


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