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From India to Iceland: The Heartwarming Ways the World Celebrates Father's Day

Last updated :
March 10, 2024

minutes read

Table of Contents

Every culture, every corner of the world, has its unique way of honouring fathers and father figures. From the bustling streets of India to the serene countryside of England, the sentiment remains the same. Whether it's Father's Day or a special birthday, the challenge is always to find that perfect gift that says, "I love you, Dad." Let's dive deep into the origins of this special day and explore some heartwarming gift ideas.

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The Origin and Evolution of Father's Day

When we mark our calendars for Sunday, 16 June 2024, to celebrate Father's Day, it's essential to look back and appreciate the roots of this special day. The story is as heartwarming as the celebration itself.

The Touching Tale of Sonora Smart Dodd

In the early 20th century, amidst the quiet streets of Spokane, Washington, a determined daughter named Sonora Smart Dodd dreamt of a day dedicated to honouring fathers. Raised by her single father, William Jackson Smart, who took on the role of both mother and father after the death of her mother, Sonora felt the weight of his sacrifices. She believed fathers deserved their own day of recognition, just like mothers. Her determination led to the first-ever Father's Day celebration on June 19, 1910. Though it began as a local event, the idea resonated, and the seed for a nationwide celebration was planted.

More Than Just Gifts and Cards

Over the years, Father's Day has evolved into more than just an occasion for gifts and cards. It's a day that delves deep into the emotional bond between children and their fathers. Across the globe, different cultures have embraced this day, each adding their unique traditions and customs. In India, for instance, families come together, not just to exchange gifts but to share stories, meals and create memories. The essence of the day lies in acknowledging the deep-rooted traditions, values, and lessons imparted by fathers and celebrating the universal sentiment of love and gratitude.

Celebrating Dads: Different Dates, Same Love

1. India: A Blend of Modern and Traditional

  • Date: Third Sunday of June, which is Sunday, 16 June, 2024 this year.
  • Traditions: Families come together for special meals and outings.
  • Gift Ideas: Children often gift their dads items like a coffee mug with inscriptions such as "Happy Birthday Papa" or "Happy Father's Day".
  • Special Moments: Sharing of Father's Day quotes and reminiscing fond memories with family.

2. United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom: A Day of Gratitude

  • Date: Third Sunday of June.
  • Traditions: Breakfast in bed, handcrafted cards, and family outings.
  • Gift Ideas: Thoughtful gifts like watches for father or cherished coffee mugs.
  • Special Moments: Creating lasting memories and sharing heartfelt Father's Day quotes from daughter and son.

3. Australia and New Zealand: Springtime Celebrations

  • Date: First Sunday of September.
  • Traditions: Families enjoy barbecues, picnics, and outdoor activities as they welcome spring.
  • Gift Ideas: From unique gifts for dad to the classic watch for dad.
  • Special Moments: Emphasis on showing appreciation, love, and spending quality time together.

4. Brazil (Dia dos Pais): A Day of Faith and Family

  • Date: Second Sunday in August.
  • Traditions: In Brazil, families attend church services to honour Saint Joachim, the patron saint of fathers. This is followed by festive meals and gatherings. Sharing father day quotes and stories about dad's childhood is a common practice, creating a bridge between generations.
  • Gift Ideas: Popular gifts include coffee mugs with "Happy Father's Day" inscriptions, watches for father, and whiskey glasses for those evening toasts.

5. Germany (Vatertag): A Day of Merriment

  • Date: Fortieth day after Easter, usually a Thursday in May.
  • Traditions: Originally a religious observance, Vatertag in Germany has evolved into a day of fun and merriment. Men often go on pub tours or ride beer bikes, celebrating in a jovial manner. It's a day off work for everyone, allowing men to let loose and enjoy themselves.
  • Gift Ideas: While traditional gifts like watches for father and wallets for dad are common, many also opt for unique experiences or outings to make the day memorable.

6. Spain, Portugal, and Italy: Honouring Saint Joseph

  • Date: March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.
  • Traditions: In these predominantly Roman Catholic countries, Father's Day coincides with the Feast of St. Joseph. Families often attend church together, honouring Joseph of Nazareth, Jesus' father. After the religious ceremonies, families enjoy special meals either at home or in restaurants.
  • Gift Ideas: Apart from the usual gifts like coffee mugs and watches for dad, many also gift religious artefacts or organise special prayers for their fathers. Personalised gifts with inscriptions like "Happy Birthday Papa" or "Happy Father's Day" are also popular.

7. Mexico: A Day of Activity and Appreciation

  • Date: Third Sunday in June, aligning with the international Father's Day date.
  • Traditions: Mexico is known for its vibrant celebrations, and Father's Day is no exception. One of the highlights is the 'Carrera Dia del Padre' race, where families come together to participate or cheer from the sidelines. It's not just about the competition but celebrating the spirit of fatherhood.
  • Gift Ideas: From coffee mugs inscribed with "Happy Father's Day" to watches for dad, the gifts reflect the warmth and closeness of Mexican families. Personal touches, like a gift item with a handwritten Father Day quote, make the day even more special.

8. Japan: Honouring the Pillars of the Family

  • Date: Third Sunday in June, similar to many other countries.
  • Traditions: Known as 'Chichi no Hi', children, irrespective of their age, take this day to express their gratitude towards their fathers. It's a day of reflection and appreciation, with families spending quality time together.
  • Gift Ideas: Traditional gifts like wallets for dad and modern ones like whiskey glasses are popular. However, the emphasis is on the sentiment, with many opting for unique gifts for dad that resonate with his personality or interests.
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9. Africa: Celebrating the Nurturers and Protectors

  • Date: Varies across countries, but the sentiment remains consistent.
  • Traditions: In Africa, the role of a father is multifaceted. He's seen as a nurturer, protector, and provider. Father's Day celebrations emphasise these roles, with communities coming together to honour the patriarchs. Songs, dances, and communal feasts are common, reflecting the continent's rich cultural tapestry.
  • Gift Ideas: From handcrafted gifts for dad to modern gadgets, the range is vast. However, personal touches, like a gift for papa with a special message or a coffee mug with "Happy Birthday Papa" inscribed, hold a special place in the heart.

10. Canada: Honouring the Pillars of the North

  • Date: Third Sunday in June, aligning with the international Father's Day date.
  • Traditions: Canada, known for its picturesque landscapes and warm-hearted people, has a unique way of celebrating Father's Day. In Victoria, 32 exemplary fathers are chosen and celebrated as the 'Fathers of the Year'. This not only recognises their efforts but also emphasises the role of fatherhood in society.
  • Gift Ideas: From coffee mugs with Canadian motifs to wallets for Dad made of genuine leather, the gifts reflect the essence of Canadian culture. Personalised items, like a watch for dad engraved with a special message, are cherished keepsakes.

11. Scandinavian Countries: A Nordic Nod to Dads

  • Date: Second Sunday in November.
  • Traditions: In countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, Father's Day is a relatively new but warmly embraced tradition. Families come together for cosy gatherings, celebrating the bond they share with their fathers amidst the chilly Nordic weather.
  • Gift Ideas: Hand-knitted sweaters, books on Norse myths, or even modern gadgets - the gifts are a blend of tradition and modernity. A whiskey glass set or a unique gift for Dad that resonates with his interests is always a hit.

12. Thailand (Wan Por): A Royal Tribute

  • Date: December 5th, also the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
  • Traditions: Father's Day in Thailand is a day of national significance, coinciding with the birthday of the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, considered the 'father of the nation'. People wear yellow, the colour representing Monday, the day King Bhumibol was born.
  • Gift Ideas: Traditional Thai crafts, handcrafted gifts for dad, and modern gadgets are popular choices. Personal touches, like a gift for papa with a special Thai motif or a coffee mug with "Happy Birthday Papa" in Thai script, make the gift memorable.

Top Gift Ideas for Dads

Choosing the perfect gift for your dad can be a delightful yet daunting task. Whether it's for Father's Day, his birthday, or just a regular day when you want to show some extra love, here are some curated ideas to make his day special.

Classic Gifts: Timeless Tokens of Love

Some gifts never go out of style. Think of a sleek watch for your father or a set of refined whiskey glasses. And who can resist a quality leather wallet for dad? These are the kind of gifts that resonate with the timeless bond you share.

Personal Touch: Gifts That Speak Volumes

It's often said that it's the thought behind the gift that counts. Personalised gifts, like a customised gift item or a coffee mug with "Happy Birthday Papa" inscribed, can make him feel truly special. And if you're wondering how to write name on gift cover, a hand-written message can be a touching gesture.

Gifts for Special Occasions: Celebrating Milestones

Special occasions call for special gifts. Whether it's a retirement gift for father or a unique birthday gift for dad, it's about honouring the journey and the memories. For those landmark moments, consider gifts that he can cherish, like a journal to pen down his experiences or an experience day tailored to his interests.

Unique Gifts: For the Dad Who Has Everything

For the dads who insist they 'want nothing', finding that one-of-a-kind gift can be a challenge. Think outside the box with gifts like a star map of the night he became a dad or a customised puzzle of a family photo. Subscription boxes, be it gourmet coffee or monthly book picks, can also be a delightful surprise.

Gifts from the Heart: It's the Thought That Counts

Sometimes, the best gifts aren't things but experiences and memories. Plan a day out based on his interests, or create DIY gifts that come straight from the heart. Handwritten letters or cards expressing your feelings, accompanied by touching Father Day quotes, can be more valuable than any material gift.

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Heartfelt Messages and Quotes

There's something incredibly special about the bond between a child and their father. It's a relationship built on love, trust, and countless shared memories. While gifts are a wonderful way to express our feelings, sometimes words can capture our emotions even more profoundly.

Here's a collection of touching messages and quotes that celebrate fathers, perfect for sharing on Father's Day or any other day you want to make your dad feel special.

A Collection of Touching Quotes

  • "Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad." - Anne Geddes
  • "Good fathers do three things: they provide, they nurture, and they guide." — Roland Warren.
  • "Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song." — Pam Brown.
  • "My father didn't tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it." — Clarence Budington Kelland.
  • "Dad: A son's first hero, a daughter's first love." - Unknown
  • "The best gift a man can give to the world is to be a good father." - Renee Daniels

Messages to Share with Your Dad

  • "You're my strength whenever I'm weak; with you in my life, every goal, every aspiration and every dream will definitely see the light of the day. I love you so much, Father."
  • "Love you, Dad. Don't know who I would be without you. You mean the world to me. I'm not sure if you know this but, you make me incredibly happy. It's hard for me to put into words the amount of love I feel for you. You are my rock, my best friend and my adviser. I love you to the moon and back Dad! Thanks for all the amazing memories."
  • "I love you so much! Happy Father's Day. My sincerest wish is to be as great of a parent as you have always been to me. Thank you for leading by example."

Whether it's Father's Day 2024 or your Dad's birthday, these messages and quotes can help you convey your feelings in a way that's both genuine and touching. Remember, it's not always about the grand gestures; sometimes, a simple "Happy Birthday Papa" or a heartfelt note can mean the world to him.

Adapting and Blending Traditions

When it comes to celebrating our beloved dad, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Every family, every culture, and every individual has a unique way of expressing love and gratitude. But what if we could take the best from every tradition and blend it into our celebrations? Especially for our readers in India, where the cultural tapestry is so rich and diverse, blending traditions can make father's day even more special.

Why Blend Traditions?

  • It's a beautiful way to honour your roots while embracing the global community.
  • It adds a unique touch to your celebrations, making them memorable.
  • It's a learning experience, understanding and appreciating different cultures.

How to Incorporate Different Traditions

  • Research: Start by understanding the significance of Father's Day in different cultures.
  • Gifts with a Twist: While a coffee mug or a watch for Dad is universally appreciated, how about adding a touch from another culture? Maybe a Japanese-style gift item or an African handcrafted gift for your father.
  • Celebrate with Food: Prepare a meal that's a mix of your traditional dishes and some from another culture. It's a delightful way to blend traditions and treat your dad to something unique.

Remember, it's all about making the day special. Whether you're looking for gifts for Indian dads or trying to understand the significance of Father's Day, blending traditions can add a fresh perspective to your celebrations.


From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene landscapes of Scandinavia, from the vibrant festivals of Mexico to the traditional celebrations in India, one thing remains constant: our universal sentiment of love and appreciation for fathers. Whether it's a birthday gift for father, a retirement gift, or a simple "Happy Father's Day" message, the emotion behind it is what truly counts.

As we reflect on the diverse ways cultures honour fathers, let's remember that every day is an opportunity to show our dad how much he means to us. Whether it's through Father's Day quotes, unique gifts for Dad, or just spending quality time together, let's make every moment count. After all, in the grand tapestry of life, it's these threads of love, respect, and gratitude that make the most beautiful patterns.

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Shuaib Azam
Shuaib is a Marketing & Growth lead at Hubble. When he isn't working on growth initiatives, Shuaib writes fiction and doodles space monkeys.

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