Not all countries celebrate Dad in the summer.

By Emily VanSchmus
June 01, 2020
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In the United States, Father’s Day was originally created to honor a veteran and single father of 14 children. Since 1910 its been celebrated annually on the third Sunday of June, because ministers in the early 1900s wanted to be sure they had enough time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to write two exceptionally good sermons for services held on the holidays. And while we may be most familiar with our own traditions, Father’s Day isn’t just celebrated in the United States. In other countries, the holiday is celebrated on different days and in many different ways. Here’s how Father’s Day is celebrated in 15 countries around the world.

Credit: Tom Werner/Getty Images

While Mother’s Day is celebrated on different dates in the United States and the United Kingdom, Father’s Day always falls on the third Sunday in June in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. This year, the holiday will be celebrated with cards and Father's Day gifts on Sunday, June 21 in all three countries.

In Australia and New Zealand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first day of Spring, which in those countries is the first Sunday of September. It’s said that these two countries chose September because the time when much of the world observes Father’s Day was already too full of holidays. The day is typically spent showering Dad with cards and gifts in much the same way we do in America.

Brazilian Father’s Day is observed on the second Sunday in August (this year on Sunday, August 9) in honor of St. Joachim, the father of the virgin Mary in the Christian tradition. Children spend the day writing Father's Day cards and letters with words of thanks to their dads and father figures. 

Many Roman Catholic countries, including Spain, Portugal, and Italy, celebrate Father’s Day on the Feast of St. Joseph, an annual religious holiday that honors Joseph of Nazareth, Jesus’ father. The holiday is celebrated on March 19 each year, and in addition to church services, the day is celebrated with gifts and cards for Dad. 

Most Scandanavian countries celebrate Father’s Day (or Fars Dag) on the second Sunday in November: This year their Father’s Day falls on Sunday, November 8. The tradition originally came from the American Father’s Day observance and was celebrated in June, but businesses advocated for the holiday to be moved to November, a typically slow month for the economy. Because of this, Father's Day gifts are custom, as is a weekend spent celebrating with family.

In Germany, Father's Day (or Vatertag) is celebrated on Ascension Day, a Christian holiday celebrated on the 40th day after Easter. It always falls on a Thursday in May: This year, it was celebrated on Thursday, May 21. Vatertag is a national holiday, and in most areas of the country the following Friday is as well, so many celebrate with a 4-day weekend filled with outdoor Father's Day activities and, for those of legal age, a few beers.

The country of Thailand celebrates Father’s Day on December 5, the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The ruling king typically gives a widely-broadcast speech, and children hand out Canna lilies to their fathers and grandfathers.

Russia’s Father’s Day began as a military celebration, which then became a holiday dedicated to men. Over time, the celebration of men has evolved into the country’s modern Father’s Day. Because of its military roots, the holiday is known as Defender of the Fatherland Day. and is celebrated annually on February 23rd with parades that many of the men participate in.

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