We all know that in South Africa, we celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June. We celebrate our Dads and grandfathers and step-dads with cards, gifts of aftershave, socks and handmade cardboard ties. But when did Father’s Day start? How is it celebrated around the world? These and other questions will be answered when you read on.

Where Father’s Day began

Unlike Mother’s Day, which started in the UK, Father’s Day was started in the United States and is a relatively recent celebration. No one knows for sure the exact origin, but most believe it started when Sonora Dodd of Washington, was listening to a sermon about Mother’s Day and wondered why there wasn’t a special day dedicated to fathers. Her thoughts were appropriate; thus, she began campaigning for an official Father’s Day to be established. This was back in 1910, however, it was only recognized officially by the US president in 1966. The day spread to the rest of the world and is now celebrated almost everywhere.

How it is celebrated in other countries

> In Germany, Father’s Day celebrations include groups of men filling a wagon with wine, beer and meat and heading into the woods for a day of drunken merriment.

> In China, Father’s Day used to be celebrated on the 8th of August of every year. But they have since adopted the Western custom of using the third Sunday of June. In Brazil, it is celebrated on the second Sunday of August and is in celebration of Mary’s father, St. Joachim.

> In Russia, Father’s Day has its roots in the military, with celebrations taking place on 23 February, on “ Defender of the Fatherland Day”. The women buy gifts for the men in their lives on this day.

> In France, the idea of Father’s Day was adopted by companies who sold lighters. It was marketed as a day to buy a lighter for your father who smoked. Nowadays, a lighter is given as a gift on the day alongside other things.

> In Thailand, they celebrate their fathers on the birthday of the king. The King gives a speech and women and children give their fathers the Canna flower which is thought to be masculine.

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