Just For the Curious: One and Many Father’s Days

Just For the Curious: One and Many Father’s Days
Fecha de publicación: 
18 June 2023
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In Cuba, as in most Latin American countries, as well as the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Afghanistan, we celebrate Father's Day on the third Sunday of June. However, around the world we find other dates to celebrate fatherhood.

On March 19th, for the Catholic saints Day of Saint Joseph, adoptive father of Jesus in the Christian tradition, they congratulate parents in Bolivia, Spain, Honduras, Mozambique, Italy and Portugal, for example. In Brazil, on the other hand, it’s celebrated on the second Sunday of August, in the Dominican Republic on the last Sunday of July, and in Guatemala and El Salvador every June 17th. In South Korea, on May 8th; in Denmark, June 5th; in Egypt, Jordan and Syria, on June 21st; in Uruguay, the second Sunday of July, and in Taiwan, on August 8th. And there are those who celebrate it in the last quarter of the year. This is the case of Luxembourg that celebrates it on the first Sunday of October, Indonesia on November 12th or Thailand on December 5th.

Origin of a Party

Many point to the first modern celebration of Father's Day in the United States, on June 19th, 1910. They say that Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd attended a mass on the occasion of Mother's Day, and it occurred to her to do another to honor his father, a veteran of the civil war who had been widowed, taking care of the five children and raising them in an exemplary manner.

Originally, the idea was that the mass would be held on June 5th, Mr. Smart's birthday, but due to the haste in the preparations it was decided to move the date two weeks. This is how the first Father's Day took place in Washington on June 19th, 1910. Word had spread and people joined in the celebrations. Masses were dedicated as tributes to the fathers in other cities in the United States. It has been officially celebrated throughout the country since 1924, when President Calvin Coolidge declared it a national celebration. In 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation officially declaring the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.

Our Father's Day

According to the Cuban collaborative encyclopedia Ecured, the first celebration of the date on the island took place on June 19th, 1938 at the initiative of the writer and artist Dulce María Borrero, who advocated the generalization on the Island of homage to parents.

In our country it’s a family celebration, with characteristics similar to those of the second Sunday in May, Mother's Day. Gifts, meetings, walks, and family meals are held. In many schools in the country it’s customary to take photos of children with motifs and allegorical posters to give as a souvenir to parents, of course there are also postcards with poems and special congratulatory messages for the date.

Around the World on Father's Day

In 1948, the teacher Manuela Vicente Ferrero, known by her literary pseudonym "Nely", decided to celebrate a festive day at her school to entertain the parents of her students. The idea arose at the express request of some parents who were "jealous" and conveyed her wish to have a day in which they were the honorees. That first day in honor of parents included mass, the delivery of gifts made by hand by the girls, and a children's festival with poetry, dances, and theater. Her religiosity led her to choose the day of Saint Joseph, considered by believers a model for parents and head of the humble and hard-working Christian family.

The idea prospered and the teacher spread her initiative the following year through the pages of "El Correo de Zamora" and "El Magisterio Español", publications for which she worked, during an interview on the National Radio program "Última hora de actualidad", she personally explained to listeners, the history of that day and little by little other important figures of Spanish society of the time joined, until the celebration became generalized in the country.

In Germany there are two celebrations associated with Father's Day. On the one hand Vatertag is celebrated on May 21st, the day of the Ascension of Jesus and it’s a national holiday. On the other hand, Herrentag is a traditional celebration consisting of making a men-only trip up a mountain with carts filled with wine or beer and regional food.

In the case of the Dominican Republic, a completely practical reason led to change the date of this celebration: in past decades it was celebrated on the last Sunday of June, just one month after Mother's Day, but a legislative resolution caused it to be delayed a month, to save time to recover the domestic economies after the mother's day expenses in gifts and parties, so it is possible to be more fair or splendid with the parents on their day.

In Argentina, it was held for the first time on August 24th, 1958, in honor of José de San Martín, called "Father of the Nation". But then it was changed to the third Sunday in June, which is when it’s currently celebrated.

In Korea, the quintessential gift for father’s day are carnation. Italians have a typical dessert on this date, a kind of donut dough nest filled with custard and fruit in syrup, and covered in icing sugar.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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