Father’s Day as we know it in America emerged out of the efforts of a woman in Spokane, Wash. 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.
After looking at how the world celebrates its mothers a month ago, here’s how 9 nations commemorate their fathers:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Aussies celebrate Father’s Day on the first Sunday in September, which is also the first Sunday of spring there.
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.”
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.
An American import, Father’s Day in Canada is an unofficial celebration held on the third Sunday in June.
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