Father’s Day is being celebrated in many countries the world over on Sunday, recognising the contribution that fathers and father figures make to the lives of families and children.
But where does it come from and when is it celebrated in different parts of the world?
When is Father’s Day?
The date when Father’s Day is celebrated varies from country to country. It is celebrated in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States on the third Sunday of June.
However, in other countries, such as Germany, Father’s Day is marked 40 days after Easter, while Australia and New Zealand celebrate it on the first day in September.
Russia has chosen to continue a tradition from the Soviet Union of celebrating “Man’s Day” on Defender of the Fatherland Day on February 23, marking the first mass draft into the Red Army.
While in Thailand people observe the celebration on December 5 – the celebration of the late King Bhumibol, who is considered the father of the nation.
China observes the celebration on August 8, due to the word for eight in Chinese being ‘ba’ and an informal term for father is ‘ba-ba’.
Egypt, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Syria and the United Arab Emirates mark the celebration on June 21, coinciding with the summer solstice, while in Brazil fathers are honoured on the second Sunday of August, in honour of Saint Joachim, the patron saint of fathers.
What is the story behind Father’s Day?
The appreciation of fatherhood dates way back to at least 1508, when history’s first mention appeared in Southern European tradition.
But in the US, Father’s Day was not celebrated outside Catholic traditions, until the 20th century.
The date finds it origins when Sonora Smart Dodd, the daughter of American Civil War veteran William Jack Smart, was 16-years-old and her father became a widower and was left to raise his children alone.
According to reports, in 1909, Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when she realised the need for a day to celebrate fathers, including her own.
Inspired, Dodd drew up a petition for the first Father’s Day, which she said should be celebrated on her father’s birthday in early June.
Dodd convinced several local church communities to participate, but they pushed the date to late June giving them more time to prepare.
Dodd’s carried on with her mission, and tried to convince the US of promoting Father’s Day for national status.
In 1970, Congress passed legislation on Father’s Day’s national status, and President Nixon signed the resolution into law two years later, nationally recognising it.
Today the celebration has become an important commercial event with promotions for the best gifts and cards showing up in malls in the build up to the day each day.
According to MuchNeeded, in the UK and the US, 75 percent of men are expected to celebrate the occasion this year.