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Father's Day

Traditionally observed day in many countries

Fathers Day
Copyright: jenifoto / 123RF Stock Photo

When is Father's Day in 2014?

Italy  Italy March 19
Spain  Spain March 19
Portugal  Portugal March 19
Germany  Germany May 29
Lithuania  Lithuania June 01
Switzerland  Switzerland June 01
Denmark  Denmark June 05
Austria  Austria June 08
Belgium  Belgium June 08
Argentina  Argentina June 15
Canada  Canada June 15
Chile  Chile June 15
France  France June 15
Hungary  Hungary June 15
Ireland  Ireland June 15
Netherlands  Netherlands June 15
United Kingdom  United Kingdom June 15
USA  USA June 15
Colombia  Colombia June 15
Malta  Malta June 15
Mexico  Mexico June 15
Venezuela  Venezuela June 15
Australia  Australia September 07
New Zealand  New Zealand September 07
Latvia  Latvia September 14
Luxembourg  Luxembourg October 05
Estonia  Estonia November 09
Finland  Finland November 09
Iceland  Iceland November 09
Norway  Norway November 09
Sweden  Sweden November 09
Thailand  Thailand December 05

Father's Day is a celebration that honours the role of fathers and forefathers. It is a modern holiday, though the ancient Romans did have a tradition of honouring fathers, every February, but only those who had deceased.

Around the world, Father's Day is celebrated on different dates though the day is celebrated in a similar manner, usually involving giving gifts to fathers and family activities.

In Spain, Italy and Portugal, Father's Day is celebrated on 19 March, which is the Feast of St. Joseph who is the patron saint of fathers.

In Germany, Father's Day is celebrated on the same date as Ascension Day.

Across Scandinavia, the tradition of a Father's Day was adopted in the 1930's. Originally the American date was used, but in 1949 the Nordic countries decided to move it to the second Sunday in November. This was partly to place it half a year away from Mother's Day but also it was chosen to increase sales in an otherwise quiet trading period before Christmas. The only country who didn't fall in line was Denmark. They forgot to inform the public and press about the date change, so Father's Day remained on the same day as their other early June holiday, Constitution Day.

In the USA, the first noted Father's Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was first celebrated as a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church.

It is said that Grace Golden Clayton suggested the service to the pastor as a memorial after a mine explosion in nearby Monongah had killed 361 men the previous winter. Another explanation for the service was Mothers' Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, a town that was 15 miles away.

An alternative claim for the inventor of Father's Day is the president of the Chicago branch of the Lions' Club, Harry Meek. He is said to have celebrated the first Father's Day with his organization in 1915; and the day that they chose was the third Sunday in June, which was the closest Sunday to Meek's birthday.

A key figure in the establishment of Father's Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, whose father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent reared his six children. Mrs Dodd initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father's death as a date for Father's Day. It is claimed she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make the arrangements, and thus the celebration was put back to the third Sunday of June.

The first Father's Day in June was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, WA. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended the day as a national holiday.

Did you know? There are more reverse charge telephone calls on Father's Day than on any other day in the year.

President Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 1966, though the day was not officially recognised until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Over 100 million Father’s Day cards will be expected to be given this year in the United States, making Father’s Day the fifth-largest card-sending occasion.
Source: Hallmark research

50% of all Father’s Day cards are purchased by sons or daughters. Nearly 20% of cards are bought by wives for their husbands; the remaining cards are bought for grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles and "someone special."

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