Father’s Day, which originated in America, is celebrated in the Western world on the third Sunday, in the month of June. In much of the developed world, Father’s Day is celebrated in the same fashion, where folks go out to eat, dads get a few presents (shirt or tie is popular), and children come home from school with paper-crafts to show their appreciation.
However, as the day has gained popularity around the world, many countries have come up with their own unique ways of thanking dads and making their day special!
In honor of fathers around the world, we have rounded up ten unique ways father’s get to celebrate their existence — from the somber and religiously rooted to the lighthearted and secular.
Father’s Day in Australia takes place in September, on the first day of spring. Many Australians celebrate Father’s Day by showing their appreciation for their fathers or father figures by sending them on adventures or experiences that may include a quad bike adventure, swimming with whale sharks, or abseiling. Other acts of appreciation may include:
- A day out in the park, at the movies, at a zoo, or another place of interest.
- Handmade or purchased cards.
- Presents such as food baskets, chocolates, clothing, equipment for hobbies, or gift vouchers.
- Breakfasts, brunches, lunches, or dinners either at home, at a restaurant, or at a café.
- Father’s Day charity activities, such as fun runs or purchasing special gifts, to raise money for causes such as services for the visually impaired or research on prostate cancer.
Father’s Day is known as Vatertag or Mannertag (or men’s day) in Germany. It is celebrated on Christian Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter. While in many countries the Father’s Day ritual involves little more than writing a card and giving the gift of a new pair of socks — with breakfast in bed if the father is especially lucky — the Germans have turned it into a true holiday for the country’s men. They are granted carte blanche to get riotously rip-roaring drunk. Alles Gute zum Vatertag! (Happy Father’s Day!).
In Spain, as in many Christian countries, Father’s Day (El Día del Padre in Spanish) is celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19. Joseph’s Day is a Roman Catholic feast day designated to commemorate the life of Joseph, husband of Mary, who set the example of what a good husband and father is for his role within the Holy Family. In traditional Spanish style, the event is usually celebrated with a big family meal, and notably coincides with the huge Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain.
In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the day when the current king was born. King Bhumipol Adulyadej was born on December 5, and this day is now celebrated as Father’s Day across Thailand. Thai people may give a dok Buddha ruksa (also known as a canna flower) to their fathers and grandfathers on this day. Many people also wear yellow, which is the king’s color. This day is also celebrated as National Day. The reverence in which the people of Thailand hold their king cannot be overestimated.
In Mainland China, Father’s Day (the third Sunday in June) is almost unknown. It isn’t a public holiday, but expats in China might celebrate it. Perhaps some Western fathers might be honored on the day by their family, friends, or workmates. This wasn’t always the case though. During the WWII years, Father’s Day was celebrated on August 8. The Republic of China government wanted to celebrate the soldiers who died and honor fathers. They chose that date because in Chinese August 8 can be shortened to “bā bā” (八八 ‘eight eight’). This sounds similar to the informal word for father (爸爸, bàba). This tradition dropped off in the Mainland, but was continued in Taiwan under the Republic of China government.
Father’s Day is a relatively new holiday in India — it has gained steam alongside increasing Western influence on the country as well as advertising from a greeting card and other holiday-centric enterprises. Indian Father’s Day is much more popular in urban areas, where picnics are a popular way to celebrate.
The closest thing to Father’s Day in Russia is ‘Defender of the Fatherland Day’, a tradition leftover from the days of the USSR, that’s also referred to as “Men’s Day.” The holiday involves parades and other celebrations of veterans. Now observed on February 23rd, it is a day to honor not only those serving in the military, but men in general. Thus, in addition to getting gifts from their children, fathers and men can sometimes expect gifts from female co-workers.
The small Asian nation of Nepal honors its fathers on a day known as Gokarna Aunsi and it’s not officially a Father’s Day in the Western sense. In fact, its name literally translates to “cow eared no moon night.” On this late August/early September Hindu holiday, sons and daughters give their fathers gifts and participate in a ceremony that involves looking them directly in the eyes. The celebration also honors recently deceased fathers.
Father’s Day is a relatively new celebration here. Romania is notable in that it was the last EU nation to have a Father’s Day, which wasn’t made official until 2010. A law was passed to make the holiday official after lobbying by a body called Alliance Fighting Discrimination Against Fathers, which is a thing that actually exists, apparently.
In the Netherlands, Father’s Day traditionally involves pampering your pops with breakfast in bed, and a lush family dinner. At school, kids usually craft specialized gifts for their dads.
How is Father’s Day celebrated in your part of the world? Is there anything that you would like to say to your Father on this special day? Let us know in the comments below: