Fathers! A strange species, they come in all shapes and sizes, in shades wonderful and peculiar. Sometimes they are the authority figure, the final threat your mothers use to make you toe the line. Other times they are your parent-in-crime, the family goofball, your comfort zone. They are your teacher of life lessons and skills, equipping you to navigate the journey of life, and if you happen to meet any hardships along the way, your safety net. Fathers demonstrate that love is a verb every day of their lives. Celebrating the one whose name is one of the first words one learns to utter, is done in so many different ways around the globe. Here is some international inspiration on how to celebrate your pops on Father’s Day:
In Germany, Father’s Day is celebrated as Vatertag or Gentleman’s Day, on Ascension Day. Just as with so many German festivals, beer plays a significant role in this one too. On this day, men walk around in groups, with a wagon (known as Bollerwagen), fully stocked with the essential supplies of beer, wine and food. Some go for a hike, ride around in special beer bicycles that come equipped with a barrel for alcohol. Men bond over beer in parks and beaches.
If your Dad enjoys beer, take a leaf out of the German playbook. Gift him a beer kit, craft beer, suave beer glasses, beer cooler, etc.
Father’s Day in Japan or Chichi no Hi, is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. Children show appreciation for their dads with small homemade gifts or homemade beer glasses, origami or candies. Father’s day dinner usually involves a meal of seafood or wagyu (gourmet Japanese beef) steak. Wagashi, a traditional sweet is a treasured gift for dads with a sweet tooth. Another popular gift is local liquor, sake.
A great meal makes a superb gift for any occasion. If your pops is a foodie, you could hire a private chef for dinner or dine out as a family. A gift of his favourite scotch and thoughtful handmade keepsakes will probably be well received as well.
In Mexico, one honours not only fathers but also other father figures such as grandfathers, elder brothers on Father’s Day. Families participate in a 21K race called Carrera del Día del Padre, held in Mexico City. Families bond during the race, doing the activities together, witnessing the race and cheering each other. The carnival-type event follows the races where everyone eats traditional Mexican food.
If you have an outdoorsy Dad, take notes from the traditions of the Mexican people. Go for a run or a hike, rock climbing or camping. These activities are amazing bonding opportunities, a chance to share in your father’s interests. Alternatively, you could gift the father figures in your life with sporting gear.
In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on December 5. It is the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The entire country of Thailand celebrates this important festival with candlelit ceremonies. Thousands of people gather in Bangkok to catch a glimpse of the present King, who delivers a speech on Father’s Day. The people pay their respects to their fathers by offering them a canna flower (dok puttha raksa in Thai) and wear yellow garments as yellow is the colour of Monday, the day the late king was born.
Flowers make a wonderful gift for any occasion. If your father enjoys gardening, gifting him some saplings and using the day to plant them together could make a thoughtful gift. You could also gift him with fancy gardening tools that he would definitely enjoy.
In other countries, people show appreciation for dads by giving gifts, having barbecue parties. Fathers are served a breakfast for champions in bed in many countries. One lucky dad in Australia is awarded the Father of the Year award.
Fathers are a diverse bunch, but most of them tend to be unfussy about what gifts they receive. Years of receiving ties and socks, which make for easy gifts, must be boring. Many dads enjoy spending time with their families at picnics, amusement parks or by going out for meals. Others prefer time alone to kick back and enjoy their hobbies such as fishing. Understand the kind of man your father is, the things he enjoys and gift him with experiences and memories, and he will truly feel loved.