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Across history and cultures around the world, fathers have played a vital role within their families, often serving as the household protector and breadwinner. Modern times have evolved traditional roles and shifted with more fathers staying home to care for the children, and some raising kids on their own.
No matter the circumstances, being a father is hard work and every dad deserves to be reminded just how important they are. With the recognition of International Mother’s Day, it is no wonder that a day to honor and celebrate fathers soon followed.
All over the world, countries and cultures highlight the ongoing efforts that fathers make to keep their families happy and healthy with honorary gifts and festivities.
International Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in many countries, but may be different for others. Keep reading to learn how five countries around the world honor their fathers.
1. Brazil - It Started With a Saint
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Father’s Day in Brazil, or Dia Dos Pais, is celebrated on the second Sunday of August in honor of the patron of fathers and grandfathers, St. Joachim. An important religious figure in Brazil, St. Joachim is the father of the Virgin Mary according to the apocryphal Gospel of James.
In 1584, St. Joachim’s Day was added to the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, but the official date changed many times in the following years. In 1950, the year that Dia Dos Pais was set in the calendar by the well-known publicist, Roberto Marinho, St. Joachim’s Day was held on August 16th, so he and his assistant chose the closest Sunday, and the date stuck.
On Dia Dos Pais, it is common practice for children to write Father’s Day cards with words of gratitude and to give thoughtful gifts. Family’s will spend time together enjoying a specially prepared lunch - barbequed meat is popular -and then fathers may choose to take their family out for an activity of his choice.
2. China - A Fun Play on Words & WWII
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Although fathers are important figures in China, Father’s Day is no longer a traditionally celebrated holiday in Mainland China. There was a time, however, when the day held deep significance. During the WWII period, the Republic of China’s Government dedicated a day to honor the soldiers who had died in the war, many of whom were fathers.
The date chosen, August 8th, was undeniably intentional due to the serendipity of the sound of the language. In Chinese, August 8th can be shortened as "bā bā," meaning “eight, eight,” which closely resembles the informal term for father, “bàba.” Not long after the war had ended, Father’s Day on the 8th of August fell away in the mainland as it was strongly linked to a war that was now over. However, Taiwan still celebrates Father’s Day on the 8th of August.
In Macau and Hong Kong, Father’s Day is also celebrated. With many westernized families and ex-pats across China, they choose to celebrate International Father’s Day, on the third Sunday of June. Those who participate make a great effort to offer their fathers companionship, gifts, and gestures of love to show appreciation.
3. Germany - Men With Wooden Carts and Alcohol
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Father’s Day has been part of German culture for more than a century and has always been celebrated on Ascension Day, the 40th day after Easter Sunday. It is often referred to as Männertag, meaning “Men’s Day”, and entertains a myriad of fun, men-only traditions. The day is a public holiday and many traditions involve men without children as well.
The most popular Männertag tradition involves groups of men getting together for an all-day outing without their wives and children. Commonly the groups will go hiking, picnicking in the park, or biking. A unique tradition involves pulling along one or more wooden carts filled with the necessities of the day, including food and, most importantly, alcoholic drinks.
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4. Thailand - Honoring The King With Yellow
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Gaining nationwide popularity in Thailand, both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were set in motion by the Prime Minister of the country to build advocacy for Thailand’s Royal Family. Mother’s Day is held on Queen Sirikit’s Birthday and Father’s Day is held on the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The annual date is December 5th. The idea of Fathers Day was inspired by the United States’ official recognition of the day in 1910.
Thai people spend the day honoring the King and showing appreciation for their fathers. Wearing yellow is custom and symbolizes the day the King was born, which was a Monday, as the traditional color for Monday is yellow. Traditionally, fathers are gifted with canna flowers which symbolize masculinity in Thai culture.
Families gather in the park outside of the Royal Palace to listen to the King’s annual speech, and many stay until evening to join in the national ceremony. The birthday ceremony is held in every village across Thailand where people light a candle and declare their faith in the King.
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5. The United States of America - Inspired by Anna Jarvis
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Father’s Day in America has only been an official public holiday in the United States since 1972 thanks to the efforts of President Richard Nixon. However, much like the history of Mother’s Day in the country, the first Father’s Day celebration was thanks to a young woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, who wanted to honor her loving father.
Sonora Dodd’s father raised her and her 5 siblings as a single parent after the loss of their mother. Inspired by the incredible movement of Anna Jarvis, who curated the first Mother’s Day in the US, Sonora made efforts to have the equivalent for fathers recognized in 1909.
After gathering enough support for her cause, the first nationwide Father’s Day celebration successfully took place on the 19th of June 1910, as Sonora’s father had his birthday in June. Since this day, Father’s Day has taken place on the third Sunday of June every year.
Today, the most popular Father’s Day traditions in the US include writing appreciative cards, buying small gifts, and sometimes even just extending a loving phone call on the day to express gratitude.
Show Your Father How Much You Care
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Beyond the differences of Father’s Day traditions in countries across the globe, one thing unites us all on this day - spreading love and appreciation for the paternal figures in our lives. Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to connect with your dad and show him just how much you care.
For a one-of-a-kind Father’s Day gift, why not spoil your dad with ShopatMAP’s Bundle of Joy Bracelets, handwoven by artisans in Guatemala? Or take a look at the assorted mala bracelets made of wood or semiprecious stones like Agate and Citrine. To make your gift even more special, 100% of the proceeds go towards uplifting artisans and their families out of a poverty-stricken situation.