The History of Father's Day

A father with his son on his shoulders


Do you know what date is Father’s Day, this year? It's Sunday 18th June 2023, by the way. Luckily, it moves around a little less than Mother’s Day, but we still find ourselves checking the Sundays in June, don’t we?

Where relevant, you need to make sure you have a gift for dad, as well as perhaps the father of your children, your father-in-law, a step dad, a grandad and the other important male figures in your life.

Whilst trying to think of Father’s Day gift ideas, do you ever stop and wonder why we celebrate and where it all started?

At, we decided to investigate this annual event and find out a bit more about the history of Father’s Day, in the UK and around the world.

Read on to see what we found out…



How did Father's Day start?

And, what is International Father's Day?

Father’s Day has different origins in different countries.

Historically, the origins of Father’s Day are linked to the Catholic celebration of Saint Joseph’s Day (father of Jesus), which takes place on the same day every day – the 19th March – with evidence of celebrations on this date since the 1500s.

According to research from The Telegraph, there is also a belief that Father’s Day is linked to the Pagan Sun worship, because they believed the sun to be the ‘father of the universe’.

However, in modern history, we have a much clearer understanding of how Father’s Day (as we know it) started, specifically in the US.

Inspired by Anna Jarvis, who is credited with starting Mother’s Day after holding small memorial service for her own mother in 1907, a lady called Sonora Smart Dodd decided it was important to do the same thing for fathers.

Sonora’s mother had died whilst giving birth to her sixth child and, together with her father, Sonora helped to raise her five brothers. She felt fatherhood equally needed recognition, especially in light of her father’s own single parenting. She approached locals, churches and small business to support the idea and, on the 19th June 1910, Sonora is credited with celebrating the first Father’s Day in the US.

However, it had a mixed reception and it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon finally declared Father’s Day as a national holiday.

Father’s Day in the US, Canada and the UK fall on the same day (unlike Mother’s Day) and so the third Sunday in June is also recognised as International Father’s Day.

However, it is certainly not the case that all countries celebrate Father’s Day on the same day.


When is Father's Day celebrated in the UK?

And, why is Father's Day a different date each year?

Father’s Day 2023 will be on Sunday 18th June 2023.

Father's Day always falls on the third Sunday in June, in the US, UK and Canada. This is why it is a slightly different date each year. However, it does not vary as much as Mother’s Day, by comparison.



Is Father’s Day celebrated on the same day around the world?

If not, why are there different dates?

Father’s Day is not celebrated on the same day in all countries.

In Australia and New Zealand, Father’s Day is celebrated in September, and has been since 1936. There appears to be little consensus on why it is different, but many speculate that it was due to ‘holiday fatigue’ with lots of other significant events happening too close to June, including celebrations such as Easter, Anzac day, as well as International Mother’s Day (which is in May).

There are many countries in Latin American and Europe, including Italy, Portugal and Spain, which still celebrate Father’s Day on the 19th March – the traditional feast day of St Joseph.


Father’s Day Around the World

What are the traditions of Father's Day?

What can we do to make dad's day a bit different?

According to some sources, a tie is still the UK’s most popular father’s day gift. Let’s hope we can get more imaginative than that on the 18th June 2023!

Father’s Day is centrally a time for families to be together and for children to celebrate their dads, to thank them and make sure they know what they mean to those they care for.

In terms of gifts and treats, whilst beer, chocolate, socks, a homemade card and, perhaps, breakfast in bed are common Father’s Day gifts, the rose is actually the official flower of Father’s Day. Perfect if dad loves to garden!

In Canada, it is also very popular to celebrate not only your own father but all male figures who are important to you.

Why not plan to get all of the important men in your life together, this Father’s Day? Include male friends, uncles, grandfathers, and neighbours. All those that have cared for you and had a positive influence on you.


Gentlemen's Tea hamper with contents on display - the perfect Father's Day Gift

Make Father’s Day Extra Special This Year

We hope you’ve found this exploration of the history of Father’s Day of interest.

Perhaps it has inspired some ideas or a special gift that is a little different this year?

Do check out our range of hampers and gift boxes, ideal for Father's Day gifts.

We just know you’ll find something that he’ll love!

Shop the Father's Day Gift Range

This blog was posted 7 months ago