I did an examination of the one single article ever to address Father's Day since it's tomorrow here in the US. The article covers both Mother's Day and Father's Day. Hope it's informative.
Examination of “Mother and Father Worship Unscriptural”, the only article ever to address Father’s Day in any publication printed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. This article appeared in the May 8, 1956 Awake! pages 25 and 26. The bold paragraphs are from the article. This was converted from a scanned PDF into text.
THE Scriptures command: "Honor your father and your mother in order that your days may prove long upon the ground that Jehovah your God is giving you." In the Christian Greek Scriptures children are admonished: "Be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous: 'Honor your father and mother'; which is the first command with a promise: 'That it may go well with you and you may endure a long time on the earth.' "—Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3, New World Trans.
Commentary: This is correct. This should be all that is needed to be said. The Biblical command to “honor” fathers and mothers is what we should be addressing. However, is that how the Society views it?
But nowhere in the Bible do we find that parents are to be worshiped, or that there should be a Father's Day and a Mother's Day kept in their honor. Worship belongs exclusively to Jehovah God, as He himself says "I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion."--Exodus 20:5, New World Trans.
Commentary: This is where the Society is directing its readers to view Father’s Day and Mother’s Day as worship. No one who celebrates these holidays would view it this way. Why is the Society doing so? This paragraph sets the stage for the rest of the article.
Centuries before the coming of Jesus Christ many mothers and fathers were worshiped as gods and, goddesses. Nimrod and Semiramis were chief objects of worship. However, creature worshipers were pagans and not the faithful prophets of God. The heathen worshiped days, months and years. In fact, the, month of May of Mother's Day is understood to be named after Maia, a demon worshiped by the pagans. "Her name marks her as the 'fruitful mother'. . . . Maia became by Zeus the mother of the god Hermes."
Commentary: Again, nobody is asserting that mothers or fathers are to be worshipped. In the western world, and I dare say, Europe as well, fathers and mothers are important, but are they are not viewed as gods or goddesses. Why make something out of this that it's not?
As for Mother's Day, the New York Times, May 10, 1953, says: "In spite of the popularity of Cybele, a mother-goddess first honored among the ancient Anatolians, and sporadic occasions honoring mothers during the Middle Ages, it was not until 1914 that the proper combination of sentimentality, idealistic promotion and hard business sense impelled the United States Congress to designate the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day and to instruct the President so to announce each year."
Commentary: So, the Times article even agrees that it's not proper to worship mothers. Regarding Mother’s Day, it calls it something more “proper”... that of sentimentality, promotion of idealism and hard business sense. Nothing more.
On May 10, 1908, Anna M. Jarvis sponsored a service honoring her deceased mother and the other mothers of the community in Grafton's Andrews Methodist Church, in Grafton, West Virginia. The service proved a success. And Miss Jarvis was on her way to fulfilling a life-long ambition to have a special day for mothers.
Commentary: Jarvis never linked Mother's Day to ancient customs or rituals. That's something people noted in the time since she dreamt up the idea. Historically, this article is correct. In the ancient past, there was improper worship going on. It should be noted that the Mother’s Day that Jarvis originated did become adopted by various religions around the world, linking it to things such as Virgin Mary day. However, that was not the intended purpose Jarvis had in mind. Nor was the commercialism that eventually followed it. Jarvis wanted it to be a special day of honor for mothers, not because of any desire to worship them, nor to attach it to any pagan practice. In over 40 years, I have never, ever heard anyone link Mother’s Day to anything other than their biological mothers (well, perhaps husbands to his wife, the mother of their children) but never to anything related to religion at all. This was adopted in some countries, but the origin was not this way, and continues to be solely about mothers in the United States.
Even though Father's Day is not so popular as Mother's Day it had its beginning about the same time. A National Father's Day Committee publication states that "Father's Day was founded in 1910 by the Spokane Ministerial Association through the inspiration of Mrs. J. B. Dodd."
Commentary: Father's Day came into being because Mrs. Dodd felt that fathers should have a similar day as Mother's Day. Her own father raised six children and she respected and loved him very much and wanted to honor him. This is not worship.
Christendom today makes much over Father's and Mother's Day, but the greatest of all fathers and the greatest of all mothers are not universally worshiped in her domain. Jehovah God is the Father of those that live and His "woman" is his organization. She is the mother of those that receive life from God. That all honor and worship are due to Jehovah God there can be no doubt. However, instead of worshiping Jehovah, the men of Christendom are taught by clergymen to pay their honor to creatures and things.
Commentary: No one is suggesting worshiping fathers and mothers over God, or even at all. The statement “That all honor and worship are due to Jehovah God there can be no doubt” is a bit of a misdirect. The opening paragraph quotes Bible verses that state that mothers and fathers are also due honor. The Society is making this an issue around worship, but these two special days are not about worship, but instead, honor.
Note the following report published in the New York Times during World War II: "Today, as he did a year ago, the pope issued a world-wide appeal for a month of prayer to the Virgin Mary 'for the restoration of peace among the nations? 'Through you [moors], we bade the whole Catholic world to offer in the month of May, then close at hand, prayers and fervent aspirations to the Great Mother of God that she might conciliate her Son: offended by our many sins, and that the just settlement of opposing interests and the restoration of confidence to men's minds might effect the return of peace among nations. Now that the situation is worse, and that this terrible war has broken out, bringing with it already untold harm and suffering, we cannot but call again on our children scattered through the world to gather around the altar of the Virgin Mother of God daily during the next month [May], consecrated to her, to offer her suppliant prayer.' "
Commentary: This paragraph is introducing something into the issue that isn't there. First, no one is praying to their own mothers and fathers. However, as noted above, some Catholic countries adopted Mother’s Day also as Virgin Mary day. This is a secondary thing, however. Mother’s Day alone is about biological mothers. That was the purpose set out by Anna Jarvis.
On the face of it the arrangement of Mother's Day or Father's Day seems harmless and calculated to do good. But the people are in ignorance of Satan's subtle hand in the matter. The slogan: "The best mother who ever lived," has as its purpose creature worship, or at leas_t it diverts the attention of man , from the proper worship of God. There have been many good mothers of men and many bad ones. Not every man has the best mother that ever lived; and therefore the very slogan is false. The woman that dishonors God is not a good woman, regardless of how many children she may bear; whereas some of her children may be faithful servants of Jehovah. The good mother is the one who serves and honors Jehovah and teaches her children to do likewise, and who renders her proper motherly duties in the home. Real men have great respect and great love for such mothers, but their worship they give to Jehovah God.
Commentary: "Creature worship" seems to be the recurring theme of this article. No one is suggesting worship of their own mothers of fathers. Worship and honor are two very different things. Regarding the phrase, “the best mother who ever lived,” it's just a catch phrase. Get over it. Just like parents think their baby is "the most beautiful boy/girl". That too is false. Yet, we say it anyway.
The same can be said for good fathers. But as Dr. O. Spurgeon English and Constance J. Foster say in their book Fathers Are Parents, Too: The father "has allowed himself to be unseated. Under the pressure of serving as breadwinner, he has often lost sight of any other goal or purpose in life. He has failed to understand his psychological role, play it faithfully, and appreciate its full significance in the growth and development of his children. Our ability to cope with this troubled world would be enormously increased by an effort on the part of fathers, especially, to gain more insight into the needs and developmental requirements of their sons and daughters."
Commentary: Why is this paragraph in here? No one is denying that fathers can improve. What's the point of insulting them here? To prove that they are not “the best father who ever lived?” This is pretty low.
A real father worthy of honor is one who fears Jehovah God and carries out his family responsibilities. He instills within his sons' and daughters' minds true values, by which they can guide their lives. He teaches love for God and respect for mankind and an understanding of all peoples. He is a real help in times of trouble. Through love, companionship and wisdom he gains the respect of his children. By example he teaches right principles, a respect for law and order.
Commentary: No disagreement with this paragraph. Stick this with the first paragraph and you’d have a nice article.
Neither the man nor the woman should be worshiped for doing right, because such doing of right is one's duty. Creature worship of any kind is wrong and is an abomination in God's sight. (Luke 16:15) For men to quote their mothers as authorities and ignore God's Word is wrong. In Christendom women have asserted themselves in politics and religion. The Bible frowns on such abuse of power: "Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence." When men and women follow advice contrary thereto, they turn away from God; and the farther they go, the more trouble they get into. Mothers and fathers, when they do their duty before God and man, deserve honor, but no more. Such is God's Law.-1 Timothy 2:11, 12, New World Trans.
Commentary: Again, and to emphasize it: THIS IS NOT CREATURE WORSHIP!!! Regarding this statement, “For men to quote their mothers as authorities and ignore God’s Word is wrong.” This statement is assuming that all mothers tell their children to do things that are against God’s Word. However, did not God inspire one writer to write this: “Listen, my son, to the discipline of your father, And do not forsake the instruction of your mother”? (Prov 4:8)
Conclusion: I’m not certain what the motivation behind this article was. Since it was written in 1956 and such an idea has never since been put forth in writing, I have to assume this was one person’s opinion. It has, however, had the effect of making Father’s Day and Mother’s Day big no-nos for Jehovah’s Witnesses for the past 50 years. The question is: are Father’s Day and Mother’s Day really issues around creature worship? Ask anyone if they feel they are worshiping their parents on these special days. Or, are they simply bestowing honor on them, as the Bible instructs us to do. It’s true, the Bible does not say to set aside a special day for this. The Bible also does not say to set aside a special day to observe wedding anniversaries, yet we do. Just because the Bible doesn’t comment on something doesn’t mean it’s wrong.