While dads are worth celebrating every day, many countries around the world dedicate one day a year to showing fathers how loved and appreciated they are.
However, the date for Father’s Day varies globally. In the US and many other parts of the world, Father’s Day is marked on the third Sunday in June. This year, it will be celebrated on June 19. In the UAE, it's celebrated on June 21, to coincide with Midsummer's day.
So why is Father’s Day celebrated differently across the world and where did the tradition begin?
The history of Father’s Day
While Father’s Day did not become an official holiday in the US until the 1970s, the first event to honour fathers was held in 1908, organised by Grace Golden Clayton in Fairmont, West Virginia. Clayton organised a special event for the children of the victims of the 1907 Monongah Mining Disaster, which killed 361 men, 250 of which were fathers.
A year later, a second celebration of fathers was organised by Sonora Smart Dodd, who lost her mother at the age of 16, leaving her father to raise her and her five siblings.
In 1909, after listening to a Mother's Day sermon at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church, Dodd decided she wanted to give fathers the same recognition, and along with the local YMCA and the Ministerial Association of Spokane, she began a campaign to have the day officially recognised.
The following year, the first Father’s Day celebration was held at the YMCA in Spokane on June 19, with a number of towns across the US later following suit.
Support for the day quickly grew across the states, leading to president Calvin Coolidge pressuring state governments to mark the celebration in 1924.
However, it was president Lyndon Johnson who issued the first presidential proclamation honouring fathers in 1966, declaring the third Sunday in June Father’s Day. Six years later, President Richard Nixon established the day as a national holiday, writing it into US law.
Several countries joined the US in celebrating Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June, including the UK, Canada, Chile, France, Greece, Georgia and India.
Other Father’s Day celebrations around the world
While China now celebrates Father’s Day in line with the UK and the US, it was originally held on August 8, as the Mandarin word for eight is “ba”, making the eighth day of the eighth month “ba ba”, which is a term used colloquially in the country for “daddy”.
In Australia, Father’s Day is marked on the first Sunday of September, which coincides with the first Sunday of spring, while in Germany, Father’s Day, or Vatertag, is marked on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter.
In Brazil, Father’s Day is marked on the second Sunday of August, chosen in honour of Saint Joachim, the patron saint of fathers, who according to Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox traditions, was the father of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In Italy, Bolivia and Croatia, Father’s Day is marked on March 19 to coincide with the Roman Catholic celebration of Saint Joseph’s Day.