Father’s Day: the most unusual traditions around the world

Father’s Day: the most unusual traditions around the world
Father's Day is celebrated in variety of ways around the world (Photo: Shutterstock)

It’s a day which is dedicated to honouring dads, and while Father’s Day is typically celebrated with cards, gifts and quality time here in the UK, many other countries around the world have their own unique traditions to mark the occasion.

Every country has its own individual quirks when it comes to commemorating fathers, but here are some of the more unusual ways the day is observed around the world.

Thailand

In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of the hugely admired late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, on 5 December, who is considered the Father of the Nation.

It is tradition for people to wear yellow on the day, because it is the colour of the day for Monday, and fathers and grandfathers would typically be gifted with a Canna flower, which is considered to have masculine association, although this is less commonly practised today.

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Uruguay

In Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, families traditionally honour fathers by hanging a skeleton outside of their home to represent Padre Esqueleto (Father Skeleton).

Germany

Father’s Day in Germany is observed on the fourtieth day of Easter, on Ascension Day, which is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday and celebrated the Christian belief of Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven.

The day is also known as Men’s Day and it is tradition for groups of males to organise hiking trips and head off into nature with plenty of beer, wine and food in tow, pulled along in decorated handcarts called Bollerwagon.

Alcohol consumption is a big part of the tradition, with many taking the Friday off work to recover and some schools remain closed on the following day too.

Mexico

While Mexico marks Father’s Day in much the same way as we do in the UK, with gifts and celebratory meals, some also take part in the city-wide 21-kilometre race, called the Carrera Día del Padre, which takes place at the Bosque de Tlalpan, a protected natural area which is used for outdoor recreation.

France

Held on the third Sunday in June, Father’s Day in France was first introduced in 1949 by lighter manufacturer Flaminaire which advertised lighters as the perfect gift.

The holiday was officially decreed in 1952, although the popularity to gift fathers with lighters has today been replaced by giving drawings or small gifts.

South Africa

Handmade gifts, neckties, novelties and handwritten thank you notes are among the gifts traditionally given to fathers in South Africa, and families typically spend the day fishing together or enjoying picnics, with celebrations strongly focusing on the fathers’ role in nurturing their children and building a strong society.

Japan

Handmade crafts including origami, sweets and beer glasses, are traditionally given by children to their fathers in Japan, and families will usually celebrate with a seafood-based meal, most commonly consisting of crab and prawns.

Flowers are also an important part of Father’s Day celebrations here and gifts of perfume are a popular gift of choice for Japanese dads.

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Russia

Russia continues the Soviet Union’s tradition of celebrating Defender of the Fatherland on 23 February, which has evolved from a military tribute to a commemoration of father figures.

Soldiers were typically honoured with parades across the country, and now often involves festivals with music, dancing and games, with men receiving small gifts from the women in their lives.

Brazil

Celebrated on the second Sunday in August, Father’s Day, or Dia dos Pais, in Brazil is all about the meat, and sees families get together for all-you-can-eat barbecues, either at home or at a steakhouse.

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Nepal

Father’s Day, or Gorkana Aunsi, falls between late August and early September in Nepal and is a time to pay respect to fathers.

Those who follow Hindu traditions may go to the Shiva temple of Gokarneswor Mahadev to pay their respects to deceased fathers, while Buddhists may visit the Jan Bahal temple in Kathmandu.

Homage is also paid to fathers by offering food and gifts, while sons will show their gratitude by bowing to touch their head to their fathers feet, and daughters touching their heads to their father’s hands.

Finland

In Finland, fathers will get to enjoy a lie in and be brought their favourite breakfast in bed.

Schools will also often have cakes and coffee in honour of all dads on the Friday preceding Father’s Day.