On the third Sunday of every June, families across the country join in a common tradition: honoring dear ol' dad. Beloved breakfasts are prepared and served in bed, back massages are offered, and gifts are given to show our gratitude'whether in the form of (another) tie or a hand-drawn portrait of the big man himself.
While Father's Day is celebrated in many countries around the globe in one form or another, the holiday is almost universally credited as having originated in the United States'although it didn't even become an official U.S. holiday until 1972.
Here's a timeline of how the holiday got started in America and an overview of what Father's Day looks like around the world.
Although traditions vary internationally, the goal remains the same: to honor the men who helped us become the people we are today.
In Mexico, Día del Padre
is a day to honor fathers and father figures, from grandfathers and big brothers to uncles and other men. The celebration usually involves a feast of all the padre
s favorite foods. Date: third Sunday in June.
In Germany, Vatertag
is also known as Men's Day (Maennertag
). Traditionally groups of male friends and family members spend the day together in the great outdoors (sometimes pulling wagons loaded with beer and liquor) and finish the day with a communal meal. Date: 39 days after Easter Sunday.
In Italy, Father's Day coincides with Saint Joseph's Day (Festa di San Giuseppe
). Special church services, street markets and family luncheons are common ways to mark the holiday. Date: March 19.
In Nepal, Gokarna Aunsi
is an important day for a culture that reveres fathers. Traditionally, children show gratitude for their fathers by offering small gifts. In a special ceremony, daughters touch their foreheads to their father's hands, while sons touch their father's feet. Date: late summer/early fall.
In Thailand, Father's Day is celebrated on the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, considered by many to be the father of the nation. People wear yellow to mark the day, and children give their fathers canna lilies. Date: Dec. 5.
In Russia, Defender of the Fatherland Day is a celebration of the country's male population. Originally created to mark the creation of the Soviet Army in 1918, today it's a time to celebrate fathers, brothers and other Russian men. Date: Feb. 23.
In Australia, Father's Day is similar to America's version of the holiday, though it's celebrated on that country's first day of spring. Date: first Sunday in September.
In Brazil, Dia dos Pais
is a day to honor fathers with quality family time, gifts and indulgent meals at churrascarias
(steakhouses) or at home. Date: second Sunday in August.
An editor and moonlight freelancer, Erica Curran has written about everything from moonshine and fried chicken to travel and history. She's been published in the
Culture, and she also provides commentary on family, lifestyle and fashion for eBay. Based in Richmond, Virginia, Erica and her husband are expecting their first child in the fall and will be celebrating their first Father's Day in 2017.
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