Father’s Day as we know it is essentially an American phenomenon, with humble origins which quickly exploded into the national celebration that we embrace across the world today. Empathising with appreciation for our Dad is something that most of us can embrace and commercialism certainly has had a hand in spreading the word across the globe. While the core ideals have remained the same, how Father’s Day is celebrated has developed and evolved in other countries around the world to adapt to the diverse cultures.
Starting at where it all began in 1910, the USA is one of the few countries where Father’s Day is considered a national event. Held on the third Sunday of every June, the day is often spent reuniting family members together, especially children who no longer live at home or have been living away. The day is still fairly commercialised, with the exchange of small gifts and trinkets, however the general get-together is the most treasured part of Father’s Day.
Russia celebrates a fundamentally the same version of Father’s Day, except with a bit of a twist. Their equivalent originates from a military commemoration which has now become an unofficial tribute to all men. Named ‘Defender of the Fatherland Day’, it is held on February 23rd and is celebrated with parades and processions in honour of veterans of the Russian Armed Forces.
Father’s Day in France was very much born from the marketing that swept across America to encourage gift buying. This was first initiated with large campaigns by tobacco companies encouraging wives to purchase customised lighters to show appreciation to their husbands. This may advert may have drifted from memory, but Father’s Day is now more popular than ever, and the recognition falls on the fathers themselves now, rather than the gifts bought for them.
Over in Thailand, Father’s Day has managed to remain true to its traditions and in fact is celebrated on the same day as the birthday of the King, Bhumibol Adulyadej. As part of the celebrations, the King provides a speech to commemorate the occasions. The traditional gift given to fathers on the day is the Canna flower, which is said to be linked to masculinity.
Father’s Day in Mexico is very much a communal occasion, and celebrations take place across the country with food and music. As a unique addition, men also have the opportunity to take part in a 21km race in Mexico City called the Carrera Dia del Padre.
Also known as Vatertag, the German version of Father’s Day is held on the 40th day of Easter, Ascension Day. A host of different activities take place, including men organising hiking trips or taking part in more traditional gatherings where they indulge in fine beers and liquors. This tradition is also tied into Männertag, where it is common for men to hike and drink.
Over in South America, they celebrate with Dia dos Pais. Traditionally held on the second Sunday of August, the day revolves around eating meat. Families all gather together for large barbecues either at home or at a churrascaria, otherwise known as a Brazilian steakhouse.
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