Global celebrations on Father's Day
Father’s Day is marked around the globe. We discover international differences.
Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide to recognise the contribution that fathers and father figures make to the lives of their children.
It is a day that recognises the vital contribution that dad’s make around the world and celebrates fatherhood and male parenting.
When is Father's Day celebrated?
Although it is celebrated on a variety of dates around the globe, many countries observe this day on the third Sunday in June.
Differing dates for Father's Day
But there are differing dates for this celebration in other countries. For example, in Fiji, New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand Father’s Day is on the first Sunday in September.
In Thailand it is celebrated on December 5, which is the birthday of the country’s king.
And in South America, Brazilian dads are celebrated on the second Sunday of August, the same date as for fathers in Samoa.
A universal celebration
In the Catholic countries of Spain, Italy and Portugal, Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19.
March 19 in these countries is the Feast of Saint Joseph who is the patron saint of fathers.
In Germany, Father’s Day is celebrated on the same May 13 date as Ascension Day.
Across Scandinavia, the tradition of a Father’s Day was adopted in the 1930s.
Father's Day origins
Originally the American date was used to celebrate Father’s Day, but in 1949 the Scandinavian countries Finland, Norway, and Sweden along with Estonia and Iceland decided to move it to the second Sunday in November.
The reason for the change was partly to place it six months away from Mother’s Day but it was also chosen on this date to increase retail sales in a period of relative quiet leading up to Christmas.
The only Scandinavian country who didn’t fall in line with this date was Denmark.
They forgot to inform the public and did not implement the date change so Father’s Day remained on the same day as their other early June holiday, Constitution Day.
In Taiwan Father’s Day is celebrated on August 8 as the Chinese for eight is ‘ba’ while a colloquial word for father is ‘ba-ba’ – so the eighth day of the eighth month sounds similar to their ‘daddy’.
This was also the date for Father’s day in China, but the date was later moved to the third Sunday in June, which is a western tradition.
But what do people around the world gift or do on Father’s Day?
Some people visit their fathers, which for many was not possible during lockdown, others give cards, flowers or other gifts. When all is said and done Father’s Day is a relatively modern holiday, so different families have different traditions.
Some make a simple phone call, others speak to their dad by zoom call, a greetings card may be given or some families hold a party for their dad.
Father figures include fathers, step-fathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, even malerelatives. Father’s Day in India is relatively new but is celebrated similarly to United Kingdom or United States.
In Mexico Father’s Day is known as “Día del Padre”, where many families get together, prepare meals and distribute gifts to fathers or father figures.
In South Africa, many social and cultural societies host Father’s Day celebrations.