Photo Credit Michaela Loheit

Father's Day

Origin of Father's Day

Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, though it is also celebrated widely on other days by many other countries. Father’s Day was created and started to be celebrated in the early 20th Century as a complement to Mother’s Day.

Mother’s and Father’s Day have their origin in West Virginia, the United States of America. Both days were brought to life by 2 women. Grace Golden Clayton was the name of the woman, who is signed responsible for the first celebration of Father’ Day. Back then she was mourning the loss of her father when, in December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested her pastor Robert Thomas Webb to honor all those fathers.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Father's Day got promoted and raised awareness at a national level with the help of groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example, the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers. 1938, the Father's Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion. Americans resisted the holiday for its first few decades, viewing it as nothing more than an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother's Day. By the mid-1980s, the Father's Day has become a second Christmas for all the men's gift-oriented industries. And that didn’t change until now.

Celebration of Father's Day

An interesting fact is, Father's day is celebrated all around the world but on different dates. As mentioned before, in most countries men and fathers being honored on the third Sunday of June. In Germany, for example, men celebrating Father's Day on the same day as the Ascension Day. Traditional, there are only men involved who are wandering or taking a joy ride together in bigger groups to different excursion destinations and restaurants. Alcohol is a big part of it and consumption is high on that date. To carry all the beer cans or alcohol beverages, wheelbarrows and handcarts are often part of the excursions. Men are dressed in traditional outfits which differ from state to state in Germany.

In Asia Father's day is also celebrated on different dates. In Taiwan, fathers celebrate on the 8th of August. The number 8 in chines means "ba" and the 8th day of the 8th month is spoken short baba which means father in the Chinese language. The number 8 is also considered a lucky number. In Hongkong, China, Japan and on the Philippines Father's day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. In Japan, they call it "chichi no hi", it is well known for young men to present their girlfriends white chocolate. In Thailand, Father's Day is called Wan Phor and is a national holiday and is celebrated on the 5th of December, the birthday of the King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

As different the celebrations are in dates and rituals might be, Father's Day is an international acknowledgment of all the great fathers and men out there.