As we flip our calendars to May, we find small letters beneath the day 8: Parents’ Day. Some may sigh that the date is not marked in red. Others may even feel a familiar pang of guilt. However, not many of us know that nearly 40 years ago, Ewha played a significant role in establishing those two words to be made permanent on every Korean calendar – with the unexpected aid from a
According to Cha Sung-sook, (’72, Christian Studies) in 1971, the students of took a class on Recreation. During the lecture, the enthusiastic professor and students came up with the idea of establishing Father’s Day as one of their class projects. As only Mother’s Day was celebrated in
They announced their very own Father’s Day as June 12 through a small article in The Ewha Weekly and arranged a day for Ewha students and their parents – especially their fathers – to enjoy together. The program included father-daughter folk dancing. “Though the event dates back to more than 30 years ago I still remember having a great time,” reminisced Han Eun-shil (’72, Christian Studies), who was a member of the student council at the time. “The fathers just couldn’t stop smiling,”
Little did they know, there was also an unexpected guest at their event. Lee Don-hee, a student from
Lee also had been trying desperately to establish Father’s Day since 1963. A pimply high school senior at the time, Lee had been knocking on the doors of major news agencies, all of which turned down his earnest request as a mere prank and only granted him a small space in the section for paid advertisements. This was too expensive for Lee who made his allowance by selling newspapers on the streets.
Lee had ended up running an advertisement in The Ewha Weekly and been waiting for a response since 1968, hoping that Ewha students would join him in his work. “I just knew that the smart and kind-hearted young women of
In 1971, Lee sent a letter to the president requesting that the government designate a Father’s Day. At the same time, Ewha students who organized and celebrated in the event were being called in for interviews from the media.
After that, the government could not help but take interest in Father’s Day. In 1973, with the ultimate push from Ewha students and 10 years of Lee’s strained efforts, Father’s Day was finally made official by the government. Later that year it was integrated with Mother’s Day and Parent’s Day was established as May 8.