Father’s Day is a day that is enjoyed around the world, celebrating all father figures and male role models, including fathers, carers, uncles, grandfathers and godfathers.
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How did Father’s Day begin?
In 1909, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd decided to create an official Father’s Day after listening to Anna Jarvis (an American woman who created Mother’s Day) giving a Mother’s Day sermon at church.
Dodd was a true believer in Father’s Day because she loved her father, William Jackson Smart who raised his six children by himself.
Dodd first suggested that the date of Father’s Day could be on her father’s birthday, 5 June. However, the first ever Father’s Day ended up being celebrated on the third Sunday of June, 19 June 1910.
Makers of ties, socks, hats, golf clubs and other gifts used Father’s Day to sell their product as the perfect Father’s Day gift (and still do today!).
Father’s Day around the world
Father’s Day is celebrated on different days of the year by different countries. Some countries celebrate in June, while others celebrate in March or September.
In Germany, Father’s Day is the same day as Ascension Day, which is a public holiday on the Thursday, 40 days after Easter. For this reason, the day is sometimes also known as Vatertag meaning ‘Father’s Day’ or Maennertag or Herrentag meaning ‘Men’s Day’. Traditionally, men go on walks through fields, pulling wagons and praying for a good harvest.
In Italy, Roman Catholics celebrate fathers on Saint Joseph’s Day which is 19 March. This day is celebrated with a traditional feast of bread, soup, macaroni, stuffed artichokes and a Saint Joseph’s Sfinge (a cream puff filled with ricotta, topped with fruit such as cherries and orange).
In Thailand, Father’s Day is the same day as the King’s birthday. On this day, Thai people give a Canna flower (‘Dok put ta ruk sa’ in Thai) to their fathers or grandfathers and wear yellow (the King’s colour). There are religious ceremonies all over Thailand and at night there are fireworks and celebrations in the street.
Father’s Day in Australia
In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September. On this day we celebrate the love and dedication of fathers, step-fathers, guardians, fathers-in-law, uncles and grandfathers and thank them for being our teacher, carer, friend and role model.
Father’s Day fast facts
- Can you say the word ‘father’ in another language? Father is ‘père’ in French, ‘ojciec’ in Polish, ‘vader’ in Dutch, ‘vater’ in German and ‘padre’ in both Italian and Spanish.
- There are over 4.6 million fathers in Australia.
- The traditional flower of Father’s Day is a rose. Red roses are for living fathers and white roses are for fathers who have died.
- Father’s Day became a popular celebration during World War II, when many fathers were away at war.
- It’s not just fathers who are celebrated, Japan has a National Children’s Day called ‘Kodomo no Hi’.
- During the 1920s and 1930s it was suggested that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day should be combined to form a Parent’s Day. Do you think this is a good idea?
- Every year, Australians spend about $1.36 billion on Mother’s Day and $660 million on Father’s Day!
- If you do not have a father, you can still use Father’s Day to honour a special male in your life. This could be a relative, family friend, teacher or coach.
- Did you know that it is the father seahorse that carries the eggs and gives birth to the babies?