Father's Day International Celebrations in 15 Countries to Honor Dad

Not all countries celebrate Dad in the summer.

Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, created Father's Day to honor her father, a veteran and single dad of 14 children. Since 1910 it's 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 excellent sermons for services held on the holidays.

And while we may be most familiar with our traditions (like giving Father's Day cards and hosting a Father's Day brunch), the holiday isn't just celebrated in the United States. For Father's Day international celebrations, Dad is honored on different days and in many different ways. Here's how families celebrate Father's Day in 15 countries around the world.

Ethnic father playing with his son outside
Tom Werner/Getty Images
01 of 08

United States, Canada, and United Kingdom

Father's Day always falls on the third Sunday in June in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The holiday is celebrated with cards and Father's Day gifts.

02 of 08

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand, families celebrate Father's Day on the first day of Spring, which is the first Sunday of September in those countries. These two countries chose September because the time of year 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, as we do in America.

03 of 08


Brazilian Father's Day is observed on the second Sunday in August 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.

04 of 08

Spain, Portugal, and Italy

Many predominantly 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, there are gifts and cards for Dad.

05 of 08

Sweden, Norway, and Iceland

Most Scandinavian countries celebrate Father's Day (or Fars Dag) on the second Sunday in November. The tradition initially came from the American Father's Day observance. It was celebrated in June, but businesses advocated moving the holiday to November, a typically slow month for the economy. Because of this, Father's Day gifts are customary, as is a weekend spent celebrating with family.

06 of 08


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. 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 a few beers.

07 of 08


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.

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Russia's Father's Day began as a military celebration, which 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 called Defender of the Fatherland Day. It's celebrated annually on February 23rd with parades in which many men participate.

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