In most countries around the world – including the United States, India, the UK, France, China, Greece and Hong Kong — Father’s Day is always celebrated on the third Sunday of June. In Australia, it’s the first Sunday of September, while in Finland Father’s Day is the second Sunday of November.
Thailand always celebrates Father’s Day on the same day each year: December 5th, which doubles as the King’s Birthday and is marked with fireworks and acts of charity and honor, the most common of which is the donation of blood and the liberation of animals.
On Father’s Day, children pay tribute to their fathers with gifts, cookouts and greeting cards. The top gift for Father’s Day is simply a greeting card, but other traditional Father’s Day gifts include neckties and sets of golf balls and tees. Fathers with daughters generally receive better gifts than those with sons: A recent study showed that female shoppers tend to spend about 50% more on Father’s Day gifts than males.
Mother’s Day vs Father’s Day
In most places, Father’s Day comes several weeks after Mother’s Day. But that’s not the only difference between the two celebrations.
Because males tend to be less emotional than females, people are more prone to buy funny or comical Father’s Day cards for their male parent, while greeting cards given on Mother’s Day tend to be more sentimental. In either case, Father’s Day is a big day for Hallmark and other greeting card makers. It’s estimated to be the fifth most popular card-sending day of the year throughout the world.
Another tradition for Father’s Day is to wear a rose to commemorate one’s father. A red rose symbolizes a living father and a white rose honors a father who is deceased.
Origins of Father’s Day
Father’s Day originated in the United States by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was the daughter of a widower who raised six children on his own. Dodd felt that it wasn’t right that mothers should get all the glory – particularly since she didn’t have a mother of her own – so she lobbied local churches, shop owners and government officials in her home state of Washington to set aside a day especially to honor fathers.
The first Father’s Day was on July 19, 1910, in Washington State. By 1916, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governors to commemorate the celebration from coast to coast, but the idea was scoffed at, especially by men who ridiculed the idea of sentimentalizing fatherhood with the type of flowers and gift-giving that took place on Mother’s Day.
It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day was declared a federal holiday – although because it is on a Sunday nobody gets the day off with pay. Since then, however, the celebration has grown in popularity and today people in the US alone spend an estimated $1 billion per year on Father’s Day gifts for their dads.
Unusual Father’s Day Facts
One of the most celebrated fathers in US history – George Washington, the first president and “Father of his Country” – actually had no children of his own and was believed to have been sterile as the result of a childhood illness. He did adopt two children from his wife Martha’s first marriage,however.
The only time a father and daughter had a hit song on the Billboard music charts was in1967, when Frank Sinatra and his daughter, Nancy, had the hit single “Something Stupid”. But Aisha Wonder, the daughter of singer Stevie Wonder, can be heard crying in the background of his hit song “Isn’t She Lovely”, which was written about his newborn daughter and recorded while she was still an infant.
The character “Winnie the Pooh” was create by writer A.A. Milne after he and his son, Christopher Robin, saw a bear named “Winnie” during a visit to the London Zoo.
Some fathers throughout history have been famously protective of their children. When President Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, performed a piano recital that was reviewed poorly by a critic from the Washington Post, the president sent the writer a note stating, “Someday I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
Another protective father was the novelist Kurt Vonnegut, who at one time was briefly the father of the flamboyant journalist Geraldo Rivera. When Rivera’s marriage to Vonnegut’s daughter ended as a result of his womanizing, Vonnegut was quoted as saying, “If I see Gerry again, I’ll spit in his face.”
The Role of Fathers
Although they only are celebrated one day per year, fathers play an important role in both their families and in the community. They serve as a role model for their children, guiding them to making the best moral choices throughout their lives.
No matter if you are Dad, Daddy or Father, it doesn’t matter. Being a father is bigger than the title itself, its much more than just a name. So when you wake up on Sunday, pat yourself on the back, take it easy and just think how privileged you are to be a father. Happy Father’s Day!