In the spirit of inspiration, we’ve taken a look at all the different ways fatherhood and father figures are celebrated around the world. Here are some of our suggestions for celebrating Father’s Day overseas when we can travel again.
United States - Third Sunday in June
First observed as an official holiday in the United States in 1908, the ‘day of the dad’ has since spread to over 70 other countries and cultures all around the world in various forms. The Eastern Orthodox Church has been celebrating the paternal ancestors of Jesus for hundreds of years, and the European Catholic Church has done the same since at least 1500 on the feast of Saint Joseph. Spanish and Portuguese Catholics brought that tradition to the New World, where it remained a purely religious occasion until the early 1900s. As the story goes, an Arkansas woman attended a Mother’s Day church sermon and felt strongly moved to found a day for fathers, having been raised by a single father herself. The idea caught on, and today we celebrate fathers and father figures all over the world.
Russia - 23 February
In Russia, Father’s Day is not celebrated specifically as a day for fathers. It’s called ‘Defender of the Fatherland Day’ instead, or simply ‘Man’s Day’ for short. Descending from a Soviet Union tradition, this occasion marks the 1918 date of the first mass-draft into the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Over time itbecame a celebration of all people involved in the Russian Armed Forces, and then became an informal celebration of men in general. On Men’s Day in Russia, you can expect fireworks, parades, wreath-laying, small gifts and a concert at the Kremlin.
France - Third Sunday of June
In France, Father’s Day was actually introduced as part of a marketing campaign. French lighter manufacturer Flaminaire had its sights set on more sales in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The result? The creation of the French La Fête des Pères (Father’s Day). The day even came with its own slogan, ‘nos papas nous l'ont dit, pour la fête des pères, ils désirent tous un Flaminaire’: Our Dad’s told us for Father’s Day they all want a Flaminaire!
Thailand celebrates Father’s Day, but it’s a day for a very important father indeed. Father’s Day in Thailand is held on 5th December, which is the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (who passed away in 2016). To celebrate both fatherhood and the late king, Thai people often wear yellow. This is because yellow symbolises Monday, being the day the king was born. In Bangkok and villages across greater Thailand, you’ll see thousands of candlelit ceremonies and an annual speech from King Vajiralongkorn in Sanam Luang Park.
If you happen to be in Germany on your next Father’s Day, you’re in for a big one. Vatertag is the German equivalent of Father’s Day, and there are many traditions attached to it. Every year on Vatertag, German men, their friends and sons go hiking, biking and beer-hall crawling across the country. If hiking, the group will often drag a traditional small wagon full of beer, wine and food behind them. As you can see, alcohol is a big part of Father’s Day in Germany!
Whether you’re taking your father figure on a local getaway or planning an international trip in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future, Travellers Choice can help. Our travel agents are community-minded, independent local advisors who pride themselves on providing great advice and personalised customer service.