Father’s Day started more than 100 years ago but if anything, the event’s popularity is just as strong as ever. Probably unsurprisingly, the event started in America: The ‘Mother of Father’s Day’ is the grand title bestowed on Sonara Smart Dodd from Spokane in Washington, a daughter aggrieved by the fact there was no specific day to mark the achievements of fathers.
She had a reason to feel so passionate about the day; Dodd was one of six siblings brought up by their father after their mother died in childbirth. Dodd and other campaigners managed to get their voices heard by the mid-20s, but according to History.com, a movement arose to scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in favour of a single ‘Parents’ Day’. That idea was eventually vetoed and in 1972 president Richard Nixon signed a proclamation to make Father’s Day a federal holiday.
Americans spend more than $1bn on Father’s Day gifts each year, but are generally joined by the rest of the world in embracing the commercial aspect of the event. Indeed, buying gifts for dads in the form of Father’s Day Gifts such as gadgets, drinks, foods or clothes is a fairly universal aspect, even if the date is not. Father’s Day itself falls on different dates across the world, with the third Sunday of June being the most popular. In Brazil it is celebrated in August, in Russia it’s held in February.
In Thailand Father’s Day is celebrated on December 5, the birthdate of the current king Bhumibol Adulyadej. Citizens wear items of clothing in yellow, the traditional colour for Monday which is the day the king was born, while candles are lit across the country.
The Canna flower, which is considered to symbolize masculinity, is given as a gift.
Another Asian country, Nepal, has designated the event as the ‘Day for looking at Father’s Face’. The various religions of the small mountainous country mark the day in late August or early September in similar ways in their own respective temples, paying respects to fathers who have passed on as much as those who are still alive.
Germans mark the day with a little more frivolity than most; like many countries, dads in Germany are excused from their duties on Mannertag – Man’s Day – giving them licence to fill up with huge volumes of booze in fields and tents across the country 40 days after Easter. The excess, celebrated by men of all ages and not just fathers, became so debauched that some cities and towns have tried to impose public drinking bans. They didn’t work.
Meanwhile, some Mexicans celebrate in a manner that is the complete opposite of their Teutonic cousins. Some do settle down to a feast and a few tequilas, but thousands of others participate in the 21km race through Mexico City known as ‘Carrera Día del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan’.
There are also rounds for boys and girls, giving a real family feel to the occasion. In 2015 more than 16,000 people took part in the event which supports conservation in the Tlalpan Forest. Perhaps the Mexican example is the most complete of all the ways the world celebrates, as it marks those things that are most important to all of us: good health, good times, and being with one’s family.
This is an editorial information post.