Father’s Day – a day to celebrate fathers, father figures and all things fatherhood! Did you know that it has been observed in one way or another since the Middle Ages? In several countries, the day of the dads is held on St. Joseph’s Day which is 19th March. In Christianity, Saint Joseph was husband to Mary (mother of Jesus) and he was considered to be a father figure to Jesus. In many other countries, including the UK, the USA and South Africa, Father’s Day is held on the third Sunday of June.
Top Father’s Day Facts
- Worldwide, there are 1.5 billion fathers
- Father's Day is the fifth-largest card-sending holiday according to leading card/gift manufacturers
- 80% of ‘dependent’ children in the UK live with their father
- The official flower of Father's Day is the humble yet beautiful rose
It is believed that the first organised event to honour fathers was held on 5th July 1908 in West Virginia, USA. The roots of this sadly stem from tragedy. Following a horrific explosion at a local coal mine, the Sunday sermon at the nearby church was used to commemorate the men who worked in the mines as miners. Several of these men were fathers and grandfathers.
The following year, a young lady called Sonora Smart Dodd began a campaign to create an official day to celebrate all fathers. Sonora had five siblings and they had all been raised, for their majority of their lives, by their father. A feisty, young Sonora had heard about the recent introduction of a ‘Mother’s Day’ and she thought it was only fair that fathers be honoured too. Sonora even went to her local government to raise awareness, but her idea of a ‘Father’s Day’ was initially met with disinterest. As a determined girl, Sonora didn’t give up and her hard work soon came to fruition. The first official Father’s Day was confirmed as the 19th June 1910. There is something rather special about a daughter championing this day for her much-loved dad!
As the years have rolled by, many families have also chosen to celebrate other special father figures in their lives on Father’s Day. This could be anyone who you think deserves special attention for the fatherly role they play, including stepdads, uncles, grandads, brothers or even a close family friend. It might even be a ‘Mum’ who plays both ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ roles in a household due to an absent father.
Celebrating Dads Around The World
Australia goes all out! In this country, Father’s Day is actually celebrated on the first Sunday of September – at the beginning of Spring. In the state of Victoria, fathers and father figures are actually presented with awards – including the Father of the Year Award. This award was first presented in 1957 and is usually awarded to prominent father figures – for example, sportsmen, musicians and prime ministers in order to celebrate the support and guidance they provide for the children of Australia.
In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on 5th December. This date is actually the birthday of the late and highly-revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Canna lilies are the flower of choice to give to fathers and grandfathers and because yellow is the colour of Monday and the late king was born on a Monday – yellow is worn as a sign of respect. Large crowds will gather outside the palace to listen to the current king give his annual speech. Those who remain at home, will hold ceremonies in their local villages and light candles to show respect to the king.
In China, Father’s Day used to be celebrated on 8th August – the eighth day of the eighth month. In Chinese culture, the number eight is the luckiest number hence they chose a ‘lucky day’ for dads. Additionally, in the Chinese language, the word for ‘eighth’ makes the sound ‘ba’ and therefore the eighth of the eighth sounds like ‘ba-ba’. This double sound is similar to the Chinese word for Daddy – which is pronounced as ‘ba-ba’. Cute hey!? Despite this adorable reason though, the Chinese eventually decided to honour Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June in order to correlate with many other countries.
Finally, in Germany, Father’s Day (Vatertag) is celebrated on Ascension Day. In Christianity, this is the Thursday, forty days after Easter, when Christ is believed to have risen to heaven. Other names for the day are Men’s Day (Männertag) or Gentlemen’s Day (Herrentag). Groups of men, young and old, can often be found going on hiking tours - walking long distances with small wooden wagons filled with food and drink. This activity is steeped in tradition and dates back to 18thcentury. On Ascension Day, crowds of men would hike from the farmlands to the village squares and the mayor would award the father who had the most children a prize – usually a ham!
A Modern Father’s Day
On Sunday, special efforts will be made to present dads with cards and/or gifts such as socks, chocolates, ties, mugs or slippers! Whilst many of the gifts will adorn the manufactured slogan of ‘World’s Best Dad’, most fathers or father figures will prefer handmade cards, personalised drawings or photographs of their loved ones. Other treats may include breakfast in bed, a day of relaxation, a walk, family picnic or even a meal out. It really is all about spending time with dad!
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy Father’s Day – whether you are being celebrated or doing the celebrating. We also, however, want to pay special attention to those who find Father’s Day a hard day and/or are having a ‘heavenly’ Father’s Day. From all of us at Naturally Sheepskins, our hearts go out to you.