When is it?
Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in countries across the world, including the UK – in 2014 it falls on 15 June.
What is it?
The name gives it away – it’s a day to honour fathers and fatherhood; the one day of the year when children can’t roll their eyes at the cringey dad jokes or dodgy dress sense. It’s also a day to remember fathers who have died and to celebrate men who serve paternal roles throughout society.
How did it start?
Father’s Day began in the United States at the start of the 20th century. Sonora Dodd, from Washington, is credited as being behind the festival - after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, she wondered why fathers were not also similarly celebrated. Her own mother had died during childbirth when Sonora was 16 and her father had raised the baby and its siblings alone.
Sonora began a campaign to have the day inaugurated, supported by the Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). Spokane celebrated its first Father’s Day on 19 June, 1910, and cities across the United States soon followed suit.
However, despite support from various presidents over the years, it was not until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson declared the third Sunday of June Father’s Day.
And in 1972 President Nixon made it a permanent national holiday.
And what about in the UK?
Unfortunately, it’s not a public holiday – but it is on a Sunday so, with a bit of luck, many fathers will be free to enjoy the day without having to go to work.
Has it really only been around for a century?
Actually, there is a theory that Father’s Day began thousands of years ago in Babylon. A young boy’s message to his father, carved on a piece of clay, is said to have been discovered among the ruins of the ancient city.
How is it celebrated?
Like many special days, Father’s Day has been besieged by commercialism, with shops mounting big advertising campaigns and selling sloganed cards and ornaments. However, in the UK and US it is traditional for families to come together to celebrate their own, unique father figures in a personal way.
In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of the king, currently 5 December. Meanwhile, in Germany the festival is celebrated on Ascension Day, which falls 40 days after Easter and is a federal holiday – it is traditional for groups of men to go on hiking tours with wagons full of wine or beer and regional food.