To the 70 million fathers in the U.S. and the countless more father figures, thank you for shaping the children (and adult children) in your lives! We hope that those who are celebrating June 21st with their father or father figure have a wonderful day. And to those who are missing their father/father figure more than usual this week, we are sending our love.
Please read on for some dad-related trivia in honor of Father’s Day!
10 Fun Father Facts
- Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the “king and father of Europe.” Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, many Europeans can claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.
- George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no biological children of his own. However, he did adopt the two children from Martha Custis’s first marriage.
- Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.
- In Thailand, the king’s birthday in December also serves as National Father’s Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.
- A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin’s teddy bear, Edward, a gift he had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher’s favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher’s pet swan.
- The furthest delivery of a Father’s Day gift goes to a 12 year old girl. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.
- The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single “Something Stupid” by Frank & Nancy Sinatra. Another wonderful father-daughter duet is “Unforgettable” with Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole. Since it is a virtual duet (he died twenty five years earlier), it seems like a song for our times! Enjoy it here!
- The Stevie Wonder song “Isn’t She Lovely” is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.
- In Catholic Europe, Father’s Day has been celebrated on March 19 (St. Joseph’s Day) since the Middle Ages. The celebration was brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America, where March 19 is often still used for it, though many countries in Europe and the Americas have adopted the U.S. date, which is the third Sunday of June. In the Coptic Church, the celebration of fatherhood is also observed on St Joseph’s Day, but the Copts observe this celebration on July 20. This Coptic celebration may date back to the fifth century.
- Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son, Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he is able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: “Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore.”