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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Father’s Day, Friday the 13th

All the best this weekend to our fathers. Your day was the idea of Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington. Sonora, one of 6 children, wanted to pay tribute to her father, who after the death of her mother, raised Sonora and her five siblings on his own.

After listening to a sermon on Mother’s day in 1910, Sonora approached the speaker in regards to a similar holiday that would honor fathers. On June 6, 1910, during the meeting of local ministers at Spokane’s YMCA building, Mrs. Dodd presented a petition that requested the third Sunday be set aside as a national Father’s Day. The ministers endorsed the petition, and soon it gained the attention of many national figures including President Woodrow Wilson. In 1914 Congress endorsed Father’s Day. Finally, in 1971, a proclamation by President Richard Nixon established Father’s Day as an annual national observance.

How do you feel about the number 13?? Like it or not, today is Friday the 13th. A fear of the number thirteen is called triskaidekaphobia. Fear of Friday the 13th is referred to as paraskevidekatriaphobia. Whatever you call it or however you pronounce it, there are many superstitious types who dread 13. Have you ever sat at a table that held 13? Do any towns have a thirteenth street? Most buildings eliminate the 13th floor. Few communities have a house number 13.

The Greek word triskaidekaphobia means tris = three, kia = and, deka = ten. In ancient Rome there was a Thirteenth Club that defied the superstition by holding dinner for 13 members on the 13th of each month. There are a number of theories about how the fear of 13 started. One reason is that the standard fee for a hangman was 13 pence.

President Franklin Roosevelt would often invite his assistant, Grace Tully, to a lunch or dinner, if last minute changes resulted in only thirteen guests. Roosevelt wasn’t superstitious but he felt others might be. So, are you superstitious or do you throw caution to the wind on Friday the 13th?? Try out your luck today.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.