Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Honour Efforts of Your Father

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Honour Efforts of Your Father

Article excerpt

Vani Naidoo

Shopping reporter

SEPTEMBER 2 is probably highlighted in your calendar, big bold circles and double underlines. But let's face it we hardly need much reminding with Father's Day displays in shopping centres and newsagencies highlighting the celebration since July.

Whether you poo-poo the day as just another commercial enterprise or look forward earnestly to a family get-together, stopping for a minute to let your dad know he's special, provided he is or was, can hardly be a bad thing.

That, of course was why Father's Day came into being in the first place.

Ancient mythology points to a date some 4000 years ago when a young boy Elmusu wished his Babylonian father good health and long life by carving a message on a card made of clay.

A special day of honouring fathers has continued in some form in countries around the world with those influenced by the Catholic Church using St Joseph's Day (March 19) as the chosen day of celebration.

The roots of the way we celebrate today, in a much more secular fashion, seems to lie with Sonora Smart Dodd a resident of Spokane, Washington who came to the idea while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Sonora and her five siblings were raised by her father Henry Jackson Smart after her mother died in childbirth and she wanted to honour his parental sacrifices.

The idea soon caught on and in 1924 American president Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day in the United States.

In Australia Father's Day falls on the first Sunday of September and people tend to spend it with family or at community days out.

It's interesting to note that we spend twice the amount of money on our mothers than we do our dads with average gifts for the latter totalling about $30. Still, here in Australia we are likely to spend about $650 million on Father's Day, down on last year as we feel the pinch of the economic downturn.

Cafes and restaurants, according to research done by IBISWorld, are likely to be the top earners ($152m) with hardware and electrical retailers expected to net $140m.

While handmade cards with crayon drawings to go with a cardboard tie may have melted your dad's heart when you were five, gifts from adult children are expected to carry a bit more dare we say it, financial thought. …

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