Unlike Mothering Sunday, which has a long tradition dating back to the 16th century, Father’s Day in the UK is a relatively new celebration.
Celebrated in the UK on the third Sunday in June, our version of Father’s Day appears to have come from the USA. There, Sonora Smart Dodd decided in 1910 that there needed to be a day to honour fathers. Sonora was inspired, not just by the fact that there was already a day for mothers, but also because her father had raised her and her 5 siblings as a single parent.
It took a while to become established in the USA, as it did in the UK where it didn’t really enter popular culture until sometime after the Second World War.
Although a relatively new celebration in the UK, some suggest that the idea of Father’s Day originates in pagan sun worship. Some branches of paganism see the Sun as the father of the universe. Since the summer solstice occurs around the same time of year as Father’s Day, some people link the two.
Another suggested historic connection is that the Roman Catholic Church celebrates fatherhood on the feast day of St Joseph. This link dates back to at least the Middle Ages, and is thought to be the reason why Europe’s Catholic countries, and much of Latin America celebrate Father’s Day on 19 March.
Whenever it’s celebrated, most traditions involved whole-family events. However in Germany, it’s celebrated in unison with Man’s Day, and often involves all-male activities. One traditional activity in some regions of Germany involves men dressing up in odd outfits and pulling wagons full of booze into the woods! Meanwhile, the wives stay at home with the children……
Alles Gut zum Vatertag! – Happy Father’s Day!
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