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Father’s Day Traditions Around the World

17th June, 2016 I by Zachary Sheaffer

This Sunday, June 19th, the United States will be observing Father’s Day. Across the nation, families will honor their fathers with picnics, gifts, and other special events. At my Pennsylvania home Sunday afternoon, the grill will be warming up, baseball will be on the television, and my father will receive a gift from my sister and me. Since President Richard Nixon officially established Father’s Day as a national holiday in 1972, the events stated above are common practices for most American celebrations. However, there are many different ways in which people practice Father’s Day around the world.

In Russia, the equivalent of Father’s Day is titled защитника Отечества день (Defender of the Fatherland Day) and is celebrated on February 23rd each year. Rather than being a celebration meant solely for fathers, this event pays tribute to all men, whom are expected to receive gifts from women and children. Due to the fact that the holiday originated as a military holiday, parades and celebrations embark across the country honoring current members of the armed forces and veterans. Privately, the celebrations are of a much smaller scale, usually just a dinner held in the man’s honor.

Germany possesses one of the more unique Father’s Day celebrations. Common practices of Vatertag, which occurs on the 40th day of Easter, involve hiking and the consumption of a large amount of food and alcohol. Traditionally, men and their peers even pull wagons loaded with alcohol into the woods in jubilation. In modern times, going out to bars will suffice. These different celebrations are strictly meant for men.

On the third Sunday in June Mexico celebrates its fathers. There are many parties with food, music, and gifts. A massive breakfast encompassing the father’s favorite dishes is commonly held in his honor. One of the larger events occurring on this day is a 21 kilometer race in Mexico City called Carrera Día del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan, which attracts thousands of runners from across the globe.

In late August or early September each year in Nepal, people celebrate Gokarna Aunsi, which literally translates to “cow earned no moon night” in honor of fathers. In accordance with Hindu beliefs, people gather and pray for fathers who have passed away at the Gokarna Temple. Children customarily present their fathers with gifts. A traditional act involving sons touching their heads to their father’s feet and daughters touching their heads to their father’s hands occurs following the presentation of gifts as a symbol of respect and adoration.

What traditions do you and your families observe on Father’s Day? What are some other international Father’s Day traditions that you know of?


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2 responses to “Father’s Day Traditions Around the World”

  1. R. Lipp says:

    How interesting! I honestly didn’t know that Father’s Day was celebrated anywhere other than the US! These various celebrations you mentioned have me curious to know whether they do the same for women. I am also intrigued by the Nepalese traditions; I wonder what the symbolism is behind the sons touching their heads to their father’s feet and the daughters touching their heads to their father’s hands. I think the best way to celebrate Father’s Day is to show your unconditional love and appreciation for your dad just a tad bit more than every other day! Dads deserve to be celebrated!

    • Hi R. Lipp,

      Thank you for your comment! All of the countries listed in this blog also have celebrations for Mother’s Day and women. I also agree that dads deserve to be celebrated!

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