6 weird ways Father’s Day is celebrated around the world



Father’s Day, that hallowed institution of neckties and breakfast in bed, seems straightforward enough.

But venture beyond the familiar borders of suburban America, and you’ll find that the rest of the world celebrates fatherhood in ways that are sometimes peculiar, occasionally bewildering, and always fascinating.

From the beer-laden escapades of German men to the flower-wielding citizens of Thailand, Father’s Day offers a glimpse into the delightful eccentricities of human culture.

In Germany, Father’s Day coincides with Ascension Day, and the celebrations are a far cry from the sentimental. Known locally as Vatertag, the day is marked by men embarking on what can only be described as a mobile bacchanalia. Groups of fathers and their friends load up handcarts with beer, schnapps, and hearty picnic fare, then set off into the countryside for a day of revelry.

These processions, known as Herrentag or Men’s Day, are as much about male bonding as they are about honouring fathers. The sight of tipsy dads pulling wagons through picturesque landscapes is both an amusing and heartwarming testament to German camaraderie.

In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on December 5, the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The day is imbued with a deep sense of respect and national pride. Citizens don yellow, the colour associated with the king, and present their fathers with canna lilies, a flower symbolising love and respect.

Public ceremonies, parades, and acts of charity mark the occasion, transforming it into a day of national unity. It’s a poignant fusion of filial piety and royal homage, where the personal and the patriotic intersect in a uniquely Thai manner.

In Mexico, Father’s Day, or Día del Padre, involves an unexpected athletic twist. In the city of Monterrey, fathers don their running shoes and participate in a 21-kilometre race known as the Carrera del Día del Padre. The race is a test of endurance and spirit, a far cry from the typical leisurely brunch.

It’s a spectacle of sweaty determination, where fathers prove their mettle not just in the home, but on the asphalt. The event culminates in a festive celebration, where exhausted but elated fathers are cheered by their families.

Nepal’s iteration of Father’s Day, known as Gokarna Aunsi or Kushe Aunsi, is steeped in religious ritual. Celebrated in late August or early September, it involves children paying homage to their fathers with offerings and prayers.

The devout make pilgrimages to the Gokarna Temple, where they perform elaborate rituals to honour both living fathers and those who have passed away. The day is an intricate tapestry of spirituality and familial duty, a reminder of the enduring ties that bind generations together in the Himalayan nation.

In Russia, Father’s Day is an extension of Defender of the Fatherland Day, celebrated on February 23. Originally dedicated to military personnel, the day has evolved into a celebration of all men, including fathers.

It’s a blend of military pomp and personal celebration, where fathers are feted with gifts and accolades. Parades and fireworks are common, and the day serves as both a tribute to the nation’s protectors and a celebration of fatherhood. It’s an intriguing amalgam of the martial and the domestic, reflecting Russia’s unique cultural ethos.

Down Under, Father’s Day falls on the first Sunday of September, marking the arrival of spring. The antipodean approach to the day is refreshingly straightforward but not without its quirks. In Australia, for instance, it’s not uncommon for fathers to receive practical gifts like barbecue tools and gardening equipment.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the day is often celebrated with outdoor activities that take advantage of the burgeoning spring weather. It’s a celebration that mirrors the nations’ laid-back, outdoorsy lifestyles, where the emphasis is on family togetherness and simple pleasures.

These varied and vibrant celebrations are a testament to the myriad ways in which fatherhood is honoured around the globe. From the reverent to the raucous, the ways in which we celebrate our fathers reveal much about our cultures, our values, and our shared humanity.

As we mark another Father’s Day, let us raise a toast, be it with a stein of German beer or a bouquet of Thai lilies, to the fathers who shape our lives in ways as diverse as these global traditions.

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