Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2011 June 10

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in many countries and on other days elsewhere. It complements Mother’s Day, the celebration honoring mothers.


Father’s Day is a celebration of fathers inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting. Father’s Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities.

The first observance of Father’s Day actually took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. It was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907. It’s possible that Clayton was influenced by the first celebration of Mother’s Day that same year, just a few miles away. Clayton chose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her recently deceased father.

Unfortunately, the day was overshadowed by other events in the city, West Virginia did not officially register the holiday, and it was not celebrated again. All the credit for Father’s Day went to Sonora Dodd, who invented independently her own celebration of Father’s Day just two years later, also influenced by Jarvis’ Mother’s Day.

Clayton’s celebration was forgotten until 1972, when one of the attendants to the celebration saw Nixon’s proclamation of Father’s Day, and worked to recover its legacy. The celebration is now held every year in the Central United Methodist Church — the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was torn down in 1922. Fairmont is now promoted as the "Home of the First Father’s Day Service".[1]

A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913.[2] In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.[3] US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress.[4] In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus "[singling] out just one of our two parents"[4] In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.[3] Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.[3][4]

In addition to Father’s Day, International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 for men and boys who are not fathers.


The Associated Men’s Wear Retailers formed a National Father’s Day Committee in New York City in the 1930s, which was renamed in 1938 to National Council for the Promotion of Father’s Day and incorporated several other trade groups.[5] This council had the goals of legitimizing the holiday in the mind of the people and managing the holiday as a commercial event in a more systematic way, in order to boost the sales during the holiday.[5] This council always had the support of Dodd, who had no problem with the commercialization of the holiday and endorsed several promotions to increase the amount of gifts.[6] In this aspect she can be considered the opposite of Anna Jarvis, who actively opposed all commercialization of Mother’s Day.[6]

The merchants recognized the tendency to parody and satirize the holiday, and used it to their benefit by mocking the holiday on the same advertisements where they promoted the gifts for fathers.[7] People felt compelled to buy gifts even though they saw through the commercial façade, and the custom of giving gifts on that day became progressively more accepted.[7] By 1937 the Father’s Day Council calculated that only one father in six had received a present on that day.[7] However, by the 1980s, the Council proclaimed that they had achieved their goal: the one-day event had become a three-week commercial event, a "second Christmas".[7] Its executive director explained back in 1949 that, without the coordinated efforts of the Council and of the groups supporting it, the holiday would have disappeared.[7]


Although the name of the event is usually understood as a plural possessive (i.e. "day belonging to fathers"), which would under normal English punctuation guidelines be spelled "Fathers’ Day," the most common spelling is "Father’s Day," as if it were a singular possessive (i.e. "day belonging to Father"). In the United States, Dodd used the "Fathers’ Day" spelling on her original petition for the holiday,[8] but the spelling "Father’s Day" was already used in 1913 when a bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress as the first attempt to establish the holiday,[2] and it was still spelled the same way when its creator was commended in 2008 by the U.S. Congress.[9]

Dates around the world

The officially recognized date of Father’s Day varies from country to country. This section lists some significant examples, in order of date of observance.

Gregorian calendar


February 23

Russia (Defender of the Fatherland Day)*

March 19

Andorra (Dia del Pare)
Italy (Festa del Papà)

Portugal (Dia do Pai)
Spain (Día del Padre, Dia del Pare, Día do Pai)
Antwerp (Belgium)

March 30

Oman (Father’s Day)

Second Sunday of May

May 9, 2010
May 8, 2011
May 13, 2012

Romania[11] (Ziua Tatălui)

May 8

South Korea (Parents’ Day)

Third Sunday of May

May 16, 2010
May 15, 2011
May 20, 2012


Ascension Day

May 13, 2010
Jun 2, 2011
May 17, 2012


First Sunday of June

Jun 6, 2010
Jun 5, 2011
Jun 3, 2012

Lithuania (Tevo diena)

June 5

Denmark[12] (also Constitution Day)

Second Sunday of June

Jun 13, 2010
Jun 12, 2011
Jun 10, 2012


Third Sunday of June

Jun 20, 2010
Jun 19, 2011
Jun 17, 2012

Antigua and Barbuda
Brunei Darussalam

People’s Republic of China** Colombia
Costa Rica[14]
Czech Republic

Hong Kong

Puerto Rico
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

South Africa
Sri Lanka
Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom
United States

June 17

El Salvador[21]


June 21 (before the first day of summer)


June 21 (first day of summer)


June 23



Second Sunday of July

Jul 11, 2010
Jul 10, 2011
Jul 8, 2012


Last Sunday of July

Jul 25, 2010
Jul 31, 2011
Jul 29, 2012

Dominican Republic

Second Sunday of August

Aug 8, 2010
Aug 14, 2011
Aug 12, 2012


August 8

Republic of China (Taiwan)

First Sunday of September

Sep 5, 2010
Sep 4, 2011
Sep 2, 2012


New Zealand
Papua New Guinea

Third Sunday of September

Sep 19, 2010
Sep 18, 2011
Sep 16, 2012


August 23

Nepal[24] Bwaako Mukh Herne Din ou बुवाको मुख हेर्ने दिन (कुशे औंशी)

First Sunday of October

Oct 3, 2010
Oct 2, 2011
Oct 7, 2012


12 November

Indonesia Indonesia

Second Sunday of November

Nov 14, 2010
Nov 13, 2011
Nov 11, 2012



December 5

Thailand (The birthday of King Bhumibol)[25]

December 26


Islam calendar

Sample dates

13 Rajab

Jun 16, 2011



*Officially, as the name suggests, the holiday celebrates people who are serving or were serving the Russian Armed Forces (both men and women). But the congratulations are traditionally, nationally accepted by all fathers, other adult men and male children as well.[citation needed]
**In China during Republican period prior to 1949, Father’s Day on August 8 was first held in Shanghai in 1945.

International history and traditions

In a few Catholic countries, it is celebrated on the Feast of St. Joseph.[citation needed]

Arab world

Main article: Mother’s_Day#Arab_World

It’s celebrated on 21 June, the first day of summer — except Lebanon, that celebrates in 20 June. This is because Mother’s Day in those countries is celebrated in the first day of spring.


Father’s Day in Argentina is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, but there have been several attempts to change the date to August 24, to commemorate the day on which the "Father of the Nation" José de San Martín became a father.[13]

In 1953 the proposal to celebrate Father’s Day in all educational establishments on August 24, in honor of José de San Martín, was raised to the General Direction of Schools of Mendoza Province. The day was celebrated for the first time in 1958, on the third Sunday of June, but it was not included in the school calendars due to pressure from several groups.[28]

Schools in the Mendoza Province continued to celebrate Father’s Day on August 24, and, in 1982, the Provincial Governor passed a law declaring Father’s Day in the province to be celebrated on that day.[28]

In 2004, several proposals to change the date to August 24 were presented to the Argentine Camara de Diputados as a single, unified project.[28] After being approved, the project was passed to the Senate of Argentina for final review and approval. The Senate changed the proposed new date to the third Sunday of August, and scheduled the project for approval. However, the project was never addressed during the Senate’s planned session, which caused its ultimate failure.[29]


In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September and is not a public holiday. YMCA Victoria continues the tradition of honouring the role fathers, and father figures play in parenting through the annual awarding of Local Community Father of the Year in 32 municipalities in Victoria. The Father’s Day Council of Victoria annually recognise fathers in the Father of the Year Award.[30]


In Brazil Father’s Day is celebrated 9 months before Mother’s Day, on the second Sunday of August. A publicist Sylvio Bhering in the mid-1950s selected the date in honor of Saint Joachim, patriarch of family (as well as the Catholic day of godfathers).


In Canada, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June and is not a public holiday. Father’s Day typically involves spending time with one’s father or the father figures in one’s life. Small celebrations and the giving of gifts may be part of the festivities organized for Father’s Day.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica the Unidad Social Cristiana party presented a bill to change the celebration of the day from the third Sunday of June to March 19, the day of Saint Joseph.[31] That was in order to give tribute to this saint, who gave the name to the capital of the country San José, Costa Rica, and so family heads will be able to celebrate the Father’s Day at the same time as the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.[14] The official date is still third Sunday of June.


In Denmark, Father’s Day is celebrated on June 5.[12] It coincides with Constitution Day, which is a public holiday.


In Germany, Father’s Day (Vatertag) is celebrated differently from other parts of the world.[32][33] It is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called men’s day, Männertag, or gentlemen’s day, Herrentag. It is tradition, especially in the north and east of the country but much less so in the south and west, for groups of males (young and old but usually excluding pre-teenage boys) to do a hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine or beer (according to region) and traditional regional food, Hausmannskost. Many men use this holiday as an opportunity to get drunk.[33]

These traditions are probably rooted in Christian Ascension Day’s processions to the farmlands,[34][35] some of which reportedly took on the character of drinking sprees as early as in the 17th century.[34] In the streets of urban regions, especially Berlin, "gentlemen parties" take place since the 19th century, excluding women and going along with alcohol consumption.[34] However, many fathers opt to spend the day with their families instead and refrain from getting drunk.[34][35] Many people will take the following Friday off at work, and some schools are closed on that Friday as well; many people then use the resulting four-day long weekend for a short vacation.

Hindu tradition

There is no Father’s Day concept in Hinduism. In countries of Hindu tradition, the western-inspired Father’s Day is celebrated on the new moon day (Amavasya) during late August or early September, to fit the existing Hindu worship of fathers. This is common among countries with Hindu majorities like in India and Nepal.[24]


In Ireland, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June and is not a public holiday.


In Japan, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June and is not a public holiday.


In Korea, Parents’ day is celebrated on 8 May and is not a public holiday.


In Seychelles, Father’s Day is celebrated on the 16th day of June and is not a public holiday.


Main article: Gokarna Aunsi

The Hindu population in Nepal worships fathers in Gokarna Aunsi (literally "Father’s Day"), which happens in late August or early September.[36] Also known as Bubako mukh herne din (translates as "looking at father’s face"),[24][37] In the new moon day (Amavasya) many people go to the Shiva temple of Gokarneswor Mahadev, in Gokarna, a suburb of Kathmandu.[36]

The date of the Western-inspired Father’s Day was moved in Nepal to August 23 to fit this pre-existing Hindu festival.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September and is not a public holiday.

The Philippines

In the Philippines, Father’s Day is not an official holiday, but is widely observed on the 3rd Sunday of June. Most Filipinos born in the 1960s and 1970s did not celebrate Father’s day but due to being under the influence of the United States as seen on television, the Filipinos most likely follow this tradition and other American holidays. The advent of the internet also helps in promoting this holiday to the Filipinos.

Roman Catholic tradition

In the Roman Catholic tradition, Fathers are celebrated on Saint Joseph’s Day, commonly called Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, though in certain countries Father’s Day has become a secular celebration.[38] It is also common for Catholics to honor their "spiritual father," their parish priest, on Father’s Day.[39]


Beginning with 2010, in Romania, Father’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May and it is recognized officially by the state. Out of the 27 states in the European Union, it was the only one without an official Father’s Day.[11] Romanian Father’s day for 2012 will be celebrated on May 13.


In Singapore, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June but is not a public holiday.


Father’s Day, El Día del Padre, is observed on the Feast day of Saint Joseph, which is March 19. As a Saint’s Day, banks and many stores close.


In Taiwan, Father’s Day is not an official holiday, but is widely observed on August 8, the eighth day of the eighth month of the year. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the number 8 is . This pronunciation is very similar to the character "爸" "bà", which means "Papa" or "father". The Taiwanese, therefore, usually call August 8 by its nickname, "Bābā Holiday" (爸爸節).


In Thailand, Father’s Day is set as the birthday of the king.[25] December 5 is the birthday of the current king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Traditionally, Thais celebrate by giving their father or grandfather a Canna flower (ดอกพุทธรักษา Dok Buddha Ruksa), which is considered a masculine flower; however, this is not as commonly practiced today. Thai people will wear yellow on this day to show respect for the king, because yellow is the Color of the day for Monday, the day king Bhumibol Adulyadej was born. In 2007, king Bhumibol Adulyadej was seen leaving the hospital wearing a baby pink blazer. Today, Thais wear pink instead of the yellow.

It first gained nationwide popularity in the 1980s as part of a campaign by Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda to promote Thailand’s royal family.[25] Mother’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of Queen Sirikit,[25] August 12.

United Kingdom

Father’s Day in the United Kingdom is celebrated on the third Sunday of June.[40]

United States of America

In the US, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. Its first celebration was in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910.[41] Other festivities honoring fathers had been held in Fairmont and in Creston, but the modern holiday did not emerge from those.[citation needed]

Modern Father’s Day was invented by Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington, who was also the driving force behind its establishment. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who reared his six children in Spokane, Washington.[8] She was inspired by Anna Jarvis‘s efforts to establish Mother’s Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. President Woodrow Wilson was personally feted by his family in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson made Father’s Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.[citation needed]

In recent years, retailers have adapted to the holiday by promoting greeting cards and traditionally male-oriented gifts such as electronics and tools. Schools and other children’s programs commonly have activities to make Father’s Day gifts.

More phone calls are made in the United States during Mother’s Day than during Father’s Day, but the percentage of collect calls on Father’s Day is much higher, making it the busiest day of the year for collect calls.[42][43] Also, calls during both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day tend to last longer.[42]

Father’s Day is accompanied by a smaller total number of phone calls, greeting cards and gifts than Mother’s Day. It is speculated that this is due to the greater number of households with a mother than households with a father (due to single mothers), to the greater role of mothers in unpaid household labor, and to different personal or societal expectations.[43]


The first modern celebration of a "Father’s Day" was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Clayton was mourning the loss of her father when, on December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested her pastor Robert Thomas Webb to honor all those fathers.[44][45][46] Grace Golden Clayton chose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her father, Methodist minister Fletcher Golden.

The event did not have repercussions outside of Fairmont for several reasons, among them: the city was overwhelmed by other events, the celebration was never promoted outside of the town itself and no proclamation was made in the City Council. Also two events overshadowed this event: the celebration of Independence Day July 4, 1908, with 12,000 attendants and several shows including a hot air balloon event, which took over the headlines in the following days, and the death of a 16-year-old girl on July 4. The local church and Council were overwhelmed and they didn’t even think of promoting the event, and it wasn’t celebrated again for many years. The original sermon was not reproduced in press and it was lost. Finally, Clayton was a quiet person, who never promoted the event or even talked to other persons about it.[44][45][46]

Clayton also might have been inspired by Anna Jarvis‘ crusade to establish Mother’s Day; two months prior, Jarvis had held a celebration for her dead mother in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away from Fairmont.[44]



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