This year, there’ll be over 1.5 billion fathers in the world worth celebrating!
Most Father’s Day celebrations take place on the 3rd Sunday of June every year with a common theme of Father’s Day gifts, words of appreciation and family reunions. But there are many countries with their own methods and dates of celebration.
Before we delve into some countries’ Father’s Day traditions, here are some interesting facts.
- Father’s Day is estimated to be the 4th largest card sending occasion of the year, with 72 million cards a year sent worldwide, 7 million of which are across the UK.
- The widely recognised Father’s Day on the 3rd Sunday in June was invented by the American, Sonora Dodd, whose father had single-handedly raised her and her 5 siblings. Sonora’s efforts saw that the occasion became a national holiday in the US, and many countries, including the UK, joined the celebrations too.
- Despite the USA being largely responsible for creating the occasion, one of the earliest known ‘father appreciation’ cards is from 4,000 years ago. A Babylonian child called Elmesu, made a card out of clay to “wish his father good health and long life,”.
- Clintons Cards retailor claim that dads shown in Father’s Day cards have put on 10-15 kilograms since the 1950s!
- The rose is the official flower of Father's Day.
Father’s Day in the UK
Father’s Day in the UK is thought to have been inspired by the USA’s celebration of Father’s Day. This is unlike Mother’s Day, which has a separate history in the UK and USA.
In the UK, Father’s Day is not a public holiday unlike Lithuania, Spain, and Germany, and it’s always held on the third Sunday of June each year, as it is in the States.
Like the States and many other countries, Father’s Day is normally a relaxed day - celebrated by sending Father’s Day cards and Father’s Day gifts, visiting father figures, and enjoying a family day at home or a during a day out.
Why is Father’s Day Celebrated on third Sunday in June?
The inventor of Father’s Day, Sonora Dodd, hoped to celebrate the day on 5th July 1908 – her father’s birthday – but it was delayed until the third Sunday of the month to give local pastors time to prepare their sermons.
Sonora continued her efforts to raise awareness of the celebration, enlisting merchants (who were sure to gain from the commercial potential), to spread the word. They stuck to this date each year and eventually, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognised the date, with his successor, Richard Nixon, signing it into law as a national holiday.
Though the USA Father’s Day is widely observed by countries across the world, many countries celebrate on a different date and some in quite a different style!
Father’s Day in Germany
Rather than a family day, a card, or a gift to show appreciation, this public holiday is widely considered an opportunity for father figures to really let loose!
Despite its religious beginnings as a ceremony honouring Gott den Vater (God the Father) in the Middle Ages, the focus on father figure appreciation has been somewhat lost and it’s since become more of a ‘boys’ day out’.
Nowadays, ‘Vatertag’ (Father’s Day), involves beer drinking, Father’s Day beer gifts, riding beer bikes… and very little responsibility!
Though it falls on Ascension Day (a Christian celebration), you’re more likely to see the streets filled with beer filled debauchery than you are religious practice or civilised gift giving.
Father’s Day in Russia
Unlike Germany, Father’s Day is not a public holiday nor is it a beer-fuelled day.
Previously, the closest event to Father’s Day was “Defender of the Fatherland Day” – a Soviet occasion for commemorating the establishment of the Red Army. Held on February 23rd, it became not just a day to honour the military, but men in general.
More recently, however, it is widely observed as more of a family activity day. In Moscow, Novosibirsk and Orenburg, “FatherFest” is celebrated, and in St Petersburg, the celebration of “Daddy-Starts” has been running for over 5 years. This includes events such as dancing, sports, arts and crafts and video games, designed for Father and children bonding.
Father’s Day in Thailand
Quite different from most nations, Father’s Day in Thailand is celebrated on 5th December – the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is considered the ‘Father of the Nation’.
As further respect to the King, it’s a recent tradition to wear pink! This is due to much-loved King Bhumibol being spotted in 2007 leaving hospital in a pink blazer following a health scare.
During the day, small gifts, cards, and flowers will be given to father figures and families tend to spend it together.
Father’s Day in Brazil
In Brazil, Father’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in August every year.
This date was based on the feast day of St. Joachim (the father of Mary and patron saint of fathers); however, it’s widely believed that the famous journalist, Roberto Marinho, set the date as he saw great commercial opportunity.
Instead of gifts for dad, in Brazil it’s tradition for children to write letters of appreciation to their fathers, spend the day together and to have a special lunch.
Father’s Day in Mexico
Now this is an unusual one. Though only 50% of the population celebrate Father’s Day, many fathers participate in an urban race called Carrera Dia Del Padre 21k Boszue de Tlalpan, in Mexico City.
Following the race, the family gathers to enjoy a feast that’s finished with Pan Dulce (sweet bread). And if the fathers aren’t too tired from the race, it’s likely they’ll be roped into a sack race or game of badminton!
Wherever and how ever you’re celebrating Father’s Day this year, we hope you have a fantastic day!