In the United States, many say Father's Day originated in 1908 in West Virginia. Others say it originated in 1910 to honor a single father of 14 children in Washington state. And some claim it's been celebrated nationally on the third Sunday of June because church pastors back then wanted enough time after Mother's Day to write a second exceptionally good sermon to honor dads. In any case, the day didn't actually become a national holiday until 1972 when Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making it so.
In other countries, Father's Day is celebrated on different days and in many different ways. To be fair, many are recent clones of the U.S. concept, but others are unique.
In Catholic countries of Europe, it has been celebrated since the Middle Ages on March 19 as Saint Joseph's Day.
In China, there is no official Father's Day, although some people celebrate on the third Sunday of June, according to U.S. traditions.
In Japan, common presents are sake, shochu, gourmet food, and sweets.
In Israel, Father's Day is usually celebrated as part of Family Day on Shevat 30, though some celebrate on May 1 together with Workers' Day or Labor Day.
Since 2012, Kazakhstan celebrates Defender of the Fatherland Day on May 7 to commemorate the foundation of the armed forces. It is also called Army Day. Kazakh society perceives it as "a men’s day" and honoring men, so it is sort of a celebration of fathers.
In South Korea, Parents' Day is celebrated on May 8. It's a chance to show that Confucian piety has cultural value in modern society, and it's marked by wearing carnations.
The Mongolian Men's Association began the celebration of Father's Day on August 8 in 2005.
The Nepalese Hindu and Newar populations honor fathers on "Kuse Aunsi" in late August or early September, depending on the lunar calendar. On Amavasya (new moon day), it is traditional to pay respect to one's deceased father with Hindus and Buddhists going temples. The rest of the country celebrates Gokarna Aunsi day or Abu ya Khwa Swoyegu - Day for Looking at Father's Face.
In Taiwan, Father's Day is observed on August 8, the eighth day of the eighth month. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the number eight is ba, and the pronunciation is very similar to the Chinese character bà which means "pa" or "dad." So, the eighth day of the eighth month (ba-ba) is a pun for dad (bàbà) making August 8 "Baba Holiday."
In Thailand, Dec. 5 - the birthday of the country's last king - is Father's Day. Traditionally, Thai people celebrate by giving their father or grandfather a canna flower, which is considered a masculine flower. Thai people also wear yellow on Dec. 5 to show respect for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Yellow is the color of the day for Monday, the day he was born.
In Bulgaria, Father's Day is celebrated according to the Eastern Orthodox tradition on its Saint Joseph's Day - one day after Christmas.
In Denmark, Father's Day is June 5, Constitution Day.
In Estonia, Father's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of November. It is an established flag-flying day and a national holiday.
In Finland, Father's Day (Fars dag) is celebrated on the second Sunday of November.
In France, cigarette lighter manufacturer Flaminaire introduced Father's Day in 1949 to sell their products. They introduced "la Fête des Pères" with the slogan "Nos papas nous l'ont dit, pour la fête des pères, ils désirent tous un Flaminaire" (Our daddies told us, for Father's Day, they all want a Flaminaire). In 1952, a national non-commercial Father's Day was established to complement la Fête des Mères (Mother's Day), which had been official since 1928.
In Greece, Father's Day recognizes the needs of divorced fathers and raises awareness for their role in society.
In Latvia, Father's Day (Tevu diena) has only been celebrated since 2008 on the second Sunday of September.
In Germany, Father's Day (Vatertag) is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday 40 days after Easter), a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called Gentlemen's Day - Herrentag. It is a tradition for men to go on hiking tours with wagons filled wine or beer and traditional food. According to federal statistics, alcohol-related traffic accidents multiply by three on this day. The traditions are probably rooted in Christian Ascension Day processions that started in the 18th century when men would be carted to the village plaza where the mayor would award a prize to the father who had the most children. Today, many Germans take the following Friday off at work, some schools are closed, and the resulting four-day weekend is used for a short vacation.
In the Netherlands, fathers get breakfast in bed made by their children, and families gather together to have dinner, usually at the grandparents' house.
A 2009 law instituting Father's Day in Romania calls for it to be be celebrated annually on the second Sunday of May.
Russia continues the Soviet Union's tradition of celebrating Defender of the Fatherland Day on February 23. It is usually called "Man's Day" and was long considered the Russian equivalent of Father's Day. In 2021, though, the president established a new Father's Day to fall on the third Sunday of October.
In Ukraine, Father's Day (Den Batka) is celebrated on the third Sunday of September.
In the United Kingdom, Father's Day does not have a long tradition and seems to have entered British popular culture shortly after World War II.
In Australia, Father's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September - the first Sunday of spring there.
In New Zealand, Father's Day is also celebrated on the first Sunday of September. It was first observed at St. Matthew's Church in Auckland on July 14, 1929. In 1935 much of Australia decided to mark the day at the beginning of September, and New Zealand followed suit.
In Samoa, Father's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in August, and the following Monday is a national holiday.
In Fiji, Father's Day is celebrated in September. Commercially, it's usually on the first Sunday. Methodist Father's Day is usually celebrated on the second Sunday.
Father's Day in Argentina is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. Failed attempts have been made to change the date to August 24 to commemorate the day on which the "Father of the Nation," José de San Martín, became a father.
In Brazil, Father's Day (Dia dos Pais, in Portuguese) is celebrated three months after Mother's Day, on the second Sunday of August. The date was picked to honor Saint Joachim, patron saint of fathers.