Father's Day: 5 September
Updated: Sep 2
Australia (as well as New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea) celebrates Father's Day on the first Sunday of September, which this year falls on the 5th. This is at odds with the United States, where the holiday originated, as well as over 70 countries around the world who celebrate Fathers Day on the third Sunday in June. While there's no official reason why Australians celebrate their dads three months later than the rest of the world, many speculate it could be to avoid 'holiday fatigue' from the busy early-to-mid-year Australian calendar or perhaps to coincide Fathers Day gift-buying with the coming of spring, which brings with it traditional 'Dad' activities of camping, boating, fishing, and barbecuing.
Like Mothers Day, which came about due to lobbying, Fathers Day had an even harder time establishing itself as an internationally observed tradition. There is historical record of days held to recognise fathers in the United States and multiple failed attempts failed attempts to establish the tradition nation-wide. The first official Fathers Day is considered to have taken place in 1910 as a sermon to honour fathers, just as Mothers Day did. It was begun by Sonora Dodd at a YMCA in Washington, inspired by her war veteran father who raised his six children on his own. When she returned to her home town in the 1930s, Dodd began to seriously promote the day in an attempt to make it a nationally observed tradition. She turned to the commercial sector for support, where it was in the best interest of traditional sellers of men's gifts and wares (such as clothing and tobacco) to promote the day. The Father's Day Council was established for this purpose, but the day was still not taken seriously by the general public, who viewed it as a cash-grab emulating the successfully commercialised Mothers Day.
The day was also contentious on a federal government level in the United States. Movements to formally recognise Fathers Day were rejected twice by Congress early in its campaign, president Coolidge and senators spoke out in support of the holiday, president Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation for Father's Day in 1966, and in 1972 president Nixon wrote the national holiday into law.
It has been observed in Australia - in spring - since 1936. In Victoria, the Father's Day Council of Victoria grants its Father of the Year award and YMCA Victoria its Local Community Father of the Year award, in the custom of honouring Victorian fathers and all they do for their families and the community.
Lockdown or not on the 5 September, treat father to something fabulous, fashionable, fearless and flabbergastingly good from our local businesses. Perhaps a hamper from Harper and Hayes, 755 Glenferrie Road? Or something from Blazer Clothing, 722 Glenferrie Road? Maybe a day of luxury with a "Male-day Spa" voucher from Kiora Skin Clinic & Spa: Dr Grace Lin & Dr Neville Lee See, 723 Glenferrie Road. What about a moveable feast from Firebox Pizza, 779 Glenferrie Road? Glenferrie Hawthorn is sure to have something for every father out there.