Many countries all around the world celebrate fatherhood by observing a day for dads. If you want to put a new twist on your Father’s Day celebration, implement one of these customs from another country.
We celebrate and honor the more than 64 million dads in the U.S. on Father’s Day each year on the third Sunday in June. You can pay homage to the fathers in your life and teach your kids a lesson in global culture at the same time by learning about some worldwide traditions for Father’s Day celebrations.
Countries all over the world have been officially celebrating Father’s Day for the last century, though it’s rumored to have started more than 4,000 years ago by a Babylon boy named Elmesu. There is another theory that Father’s Day originated from sun worship by the Pagans. If you’re looking to spice up Dad’s special day, try incorporating some of these international traditions into your plan.
In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated along with the birthday of the King Bhumibol Adulyade, on December 5. The King is very much beloved by the Thai people, and considered ‘The Father of the Nation.’ Tradition holds that everyone wears yellow on Father’s Day, the “official color” of Monday, the day of the week the King was born. Here, children start the day off by presenting their fathers with a Canna flower, which is considered to be a masculine plant.
To bring these traditions to your own family, have everyone wear Dad’s favorite color on Father’s Day. You might also present him with a favorite flowering plant that he can plant in the yard.
Father’s Day in Germany, also called Vatertag or Männertag (Man’s Day), began in the Middle Ages as a religious procession. The celebration in modern days usually begins with a male’s only hike accompanied by wagons filled with regional food, beer and wine, which are pulled by the men. In German cities, the gentlemen party has taken on a more urban tone, with men going to beer gardens to drink all day. Father’s Day in Germany is always celebrated the Thursday about 40 days after Easter.
To celebrate the German way, help organize a group of dads who enjoy golf, cycling or even wine-tasting and let Dad make a day of it.
Similar to a typical Father’s Day celebration in the U.S., South African children present their fathers with gifts such as flowers, cards, neckties and other novelties. People in South Africa often enjoy picnics on Father’s Day, or spend the afternoon fishing in hopes of securing a catch for dinner. The emphasis of the day is on celebrating the role of fathers in the lives of their children.
Tying into that theme, your family could start the tradition of fishing together each Father’s Day as a family. Make handwritten notes to thank Dad for special ways he has nurtured each child during the year.
Flowers are an integral part of a Father’s Day celebration in Japan. Children also give their dads handmade beer glasses and Japanese candies or a box of Japanese sweets. Lunch or dinner is almost always a dish of crab, prawns or other seafood. Personalized champagne and beer bottles and sandals also comprise many of the gifts. Japanese fathers enjoy gifts of perfume as well.
Bring Japanese traditions to your Father’s Day celebration by having a special seafood dinner. Kids can wrap some of Dad’s favorite sweets as a special after-dinner treat.
In Mexico, Father’s Day is celebrated much as it is in the U.S. with prepared meals and distribution of gifts to dads or father figures in appreciation of all that they do for their families. As in the U.S., there is a strong emphasis on family values when celebrating Father’s Day. There is a city-wide 21-kilometer race that takes place in Mexico City’s Bosque de Tlalpan, an area of open-space used for hiking and jogging.
Feeling adventurous? Why not start the tradition of a long family hike or run on Father’s Day each year? Your race doesn’t have to match the 21-kilometer distance of the Mexico City race, but it might just be a fun new tradition.
However you celebrate Father’s Day, make it special for your dad — and the other fathers in your life.