Father’s Day traditions around the World

Did you know that a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd was responsible for the founding of Father's Day? She was the daughter of American Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart.

Sonora Smart Dodd’s mum had died in childbirth, and her dad had raised her single-handedly along with his five other children. She petitioned for her dad’s birthday to be made a national celebration, and this began in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1972 that it became an official date in diaries around the world - generally in the third week of June. 

But how do different countries celebrate this time-served tradition?


Father’s Day in France can track its history to a company that makes lighters and marketed them as gifts for dads who smoke. Today, lighters are typically replaced with drawings or small gifts.


Mexico also celebrates on the third Sunday of June. If dad is all about relaxation on his big day, then tell him to avoid a trip to Central America!  

El Dia del Padre features a half marathon race through the city! Families participate in a number of different races throughout the day, with the most popular being the Father and Son Race. These are followed by a carnival where traditional Mexican food is served and families find out who won the race. Children also give gifts. 


In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyade ~ December 5. Tradition goes that people wear yellow. Children begin the day by presenting gifts to their dads in the form of a Canna flower, which is considered a masculine plant.

South Africa

South African kids give presents like flowers, ties or cards to their dads before enjoying a picnic or spending the afternoon fishing, with the aim of securing a catch for dinner.

The emphasis of the day is on celebrating the role of dads, fathers and those who are fatherly figures, and how they impact their children’s lives.


Flowers take centre stage at every Father’s Day celebration in Japan. Dinner is  almost always a dish containing prawns or crab, while gifts always include beer, handmade beer glasses, personalised spirits or aftershave.


Here, Father’s Day is very traditional and usually involves breakfast in bed, followed by homemade cards and small presents from children for dad. Families usually enjoy a day or meal out together or a home cooked feast to show dad how appreciated he is.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for dad, check out Hugosworkshop.co.uk. I'm based out of Maidenhead but happily (and regularly) dispatch gifts to families around the World! I produce a fine range of handcrafted solid oak goods which we can engrave with your own message or slogan.

My best sellers include photo frames, coasters, personalised hammers and medal hangers.

If you’d like some help with finding the perfect present, I'm more than happy to help.

Rebecca x

Posted on May 3rd 2021

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