Who’s the daddy?

June 19th marks this year’s Fathers’ Day, so we thought we’d check out where the idea came from and how it’s celebrated across the world…

Compared to the arguably medieval origins of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is a relative newcomer. The first celebration was organised at the YMCA in Spokane in 1910 and the idea for Father’s Day came from Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, who wanted to honour her father, a veteran who raised his six children as a single parent.

The concept was embraced by businesses more quickly than the public, with Hallmark, the greeting card company claiming it’s now the fifth biggest card-sending holiday and cigarette lighter company Flaminaire almost singlehandedly responsible for introducing the idea to France. Even now, Wikipedia suggests that neckties, hammers and golf clubs are the most popular gifts. 

The Germans celebrate with a group hike pulling a small wagon loaded with beer or wine and indulging in sausage-based cuisine. It’s thought the tradition has evolved from Ascension Day processions where the most prolific father in the village would be presented with a large ham. Official statistics show that alcohol-related traffic accidents rise three-fold on Father’s Day. 

In India, the custom has been imported into the major cities, where a family meal and gift giving are the norm. In the North Eastern state of Nagaland, it’s a huge holiday involving church prayers and presents. 

Fathers in Japan can look forward to gifts of sake or gourmet treats. While in Sri Lanka, many schools hold special events to honour fathers. Dutch fathers can look forward to breakfast in bed and family dinners, often at grandparent’s houses or restaurants. They are also presented with gifts their children have made at school. Handmade gifts are sweet, but remarkably few dads really want a personalised jar of Marmite, or yet another pair of novelty socks. 

Show Comments ↓