Here’s How Other Countries Celebrate Father’s Day

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People around the world observe Father’s Day.

Father’s Day as we know it in America emerged out of the efforts of a woman in Spokane, Washington in the early twentieth century who believed that that there ought to be a mother’s day equivalent for America’s fathers. The holiday on the third Sunday in June has always taken a back seat to its May counterpart—Father’s Day only became an official holiday in 1972—but it has in fact taken root, in one way or another, in countries around the world.

Aussies celebrate Father’s Day on the first Sunday in September, which is also the first Sunday of spring there.

The host of the World Cup will have something to celebrate even after the last goal is scored: Father’s Day is held on the second Sunday in August in honor of St. Joachim, the father of Mary.

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An American import, Father’s Day in Canada is an unofficial celebration held on the third Sunday in June.
Father’s Day in France is held on the third Sunday in June and can trace its recent history to a company that makes lighters and marketed them as gifts for smoking fathers. Today, lighters are typically replaced with drawings or small gifts. But the idea of honoring one’s father can also be linked to the much older celebration of Saint Joseph on March 19 (other countries, like Spain, still observe Father’s Day then).

Germany does things a bit differently. On the 40th day of Easter, Ascension Day, German men have a tradition of celebrating Father’s Day by organizing hikes and other gatherings—and making sure to be well-supplied with food and alcohol.

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Father’s Day in India is still an emerging holiday and, by those who observe it, is celebrated in much the same way and on the same day as in the United States.

Flowers are an integral part of a Father’s Day celebration in Japan. Children also give their dads handmade beer glasses and Japanese candies or a box of Japanese sweets. Lunch or dinner is almost always a dish of crab, prawns or other seafood. Personalized champagne and beer bottles and sandals also comprise many of the gifts. Japanese fathers enjoy gifts of perfume as well.
Bring Japanese traditions to your Father’s Day celebration by having a special seafood dinner. Kids can wrap some of Dad’s favorite sweets as a special after-dinner treat.

The Father’s Day equivalent in Russia is a celebration that has evolved from a military commemoration to an unofficial tribute to all men. On Feb. 23, Defender of the Fatherland Day, parades celebrate the Russian Armed Forces while men can expect to receive small gifts from men receive gifts from the women in their lives.

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South Africa
Similar to a typical Father’s Day celebration in the U.S., South African children present their fathers with gifts such as flowers, cards, neckties and other novelties. People in South Africa often enjoy picnics on Father’s Day, or spend the afternoon fishing in hopes of securing a catch for dinner. The emphasis of the day is on celebrating the role of fathers in the lives of their children.

Tying into that theme, your family could start the tradition of fishing together each Father’s Day as a family. Make handwritten notes to thank Dad for special ways he has nurtured each child during the year.

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The Southeast Asian country celebrates mothers on the birthday of Queen Sirikit on Aug. 12—and fathers on the birthday of the widely admired King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The King gives an annual speech, while tradition has it that Thais give their fathers and grandfathers the Canna flower, which is considered to have a masculine association.

Just like it does for Mother’s Day, Mexico puts on more festivities to honor its fathers than its northern neighbors. On the third Sunday in June, though it’s not an official holiday, Mexicans give gifts to their fathers and celebrate with food and music. Some also participate in the 21 kilometer race in Mexico city, the “Carrera Día del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan.”