Father’s Day activities: traditions around the world

3 May 2022

Father's Day

From half-marathons to all-you-can-eat barbecues, why not take inspiration from these fun Father’s Day activities from around the world?

With Father’s Day around the corner, now is a good time to think about how to celebrate with your family. Whether you’re a father yourself or just want to show appreciation to your dad or father figure, there are lots of lovely ways to enjoy this holiday. From delicious edible gifts and thoughtful cards to hiking and picnics, here are some Father’s Day activities and traditions to inspire your own celebrations this June.

Dad and baby

When is Father’s Day?

In the UK, Father’s Day always falls on the third Sunday in June. The holiday occurs on the same day in the United States and Canada, too.

The origins of Father’s Day lie in honouring Saint Joseph, stepfather of Jesus. In the Middle Ages, the tradition developed of holding a feasting day for Saint Joseph on the 19th of March. Many Catholic countries, including Spain and Portugal, still celebrate Father’s Day on that date.

Interestingly, the Father’s Day we celebrate in June has no connection to Saint Joseph. In 1908, the daughter of a miner who lost her dad in an unfortunate mining accident persuaded her pastor to set up a celebration to honour fathers. This first took place in West Virginia, US, on the third Sunday of June, and has continued to do so every year since.

Father’s Day activities and traditions around the world

Here, it’s traditional to treat Dad to a thoughtful greetings card and a gift on Father’s Day — perhaps a delicious box of chocolates or a bottle of his favourite beer. As for Father’s Day activities, that’s usually down to the individual father’s interests and the family dynamics.

Whether Dad likes to get out and about for some adventures or take the opportunity to have a nap, it’s a nice chance for him to relax and have fun his way. Thinking about planning some Father’s Day activities for your dad? Perhaps some of these traditions from countries around the world will offer a little inspiration.

Brazil: a BBQ feast

In Brazil, families celebrate Dia do Pais on the 2nd Sunday of August. As in the UK, children often present their dads with thoughtful cards and gifts. Another Father’s Day activity in Brazil, however, is to set up a lavish, all-you-can-eat barbecue feast!

Why not consider firing up your own barbecue if the weather’s set to be sunny this Father’s Day?

India: gifts and stories

Western influence has led to Father’s Day celebrations in India. While it’s not a public holiday, Father’s Day is still widely celebrated in the larger cities of India. Children offer their fathers and father figures gifts, including gold jewellery, gadgets, shirts, coffee mugs and books.

Families will also tell stories that highlight the importance of the father-child relationship.

South Africa: picnics and fishing

Father’s Day cards and gifts are popular in South Africa, just as they are in the UK and the USA. Families also like to make the most of the June weather by hosting picnics and going fishing. Overall, these Father’s Day activities are all about dads and their children spending quality time together.

A family enjoying a Father's Day picnic

Thailand: wearing yellow

Thailand’s Father’s Day commemorates King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country’s longest-serving monarch, who was seen as ‘the father of Thailand’ by many. As such, people wear yellow to honour him — yellow represents Monday, the day on which the King was born.

As well as celebrating the King, families honour their fathers and grandfathers, too. A canna flower is a traditional gift. Other Father’s Day activities take place across Thailand, and fathers accompanied by their children are given free travel on the Bangkok Mass Transit System for the day to encourage family bonding.

Mexico: a 21-kilometre race

In Mexico City, families take part in a selection of races throughout the day. The most popular is the Father and Son race, but many people also take part in the Carrera Día del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan. This half marathon has been a Father’s Day tradition for over 30 years!

After the races, further Father’s Day activities take place. A big event, like a carnival, offers families a fun environment to catch up on the outcomes of the races and enjoy traditional Mexican food.

Germany: outdoor Father’s Day activities

Father’s Day in Germany has a different origin from the UK and other parts of the world. Vatertag takes place on Ascension Day (40 days after Easter). This holiday focuses on fathers, sons, and other male family members, giving them the chance to spend time together — and have a beer or two!

It’s traditional for groups of men to do a hiking tour, often with a wagon of beer in tow. They’ll also bring a picnic of traditional regional food.

Other Father’s Day activities in Germany include:

  • Pub tours
  • Park gatherings
  • Barbecues
  • Outdoor games

If your dad is a fan of a nice chilled pint, why not take a leaf out of Germany’s book and present him with a thoughtful gift of chocolate beer? Our Cocoa Beer is a rich porter-style brewed with cacao shells for extra depth, while our Cocoa Blonde is a pale, fruity ale, with a malty edge. Cheers to that!

Grandfather and grandson hiking in a woodland

Treat Dad to Father’s Day gifts from Hotel Chocolat

And if Dad isn’t a beer drinker, have no fear. At Hotel Chocolat, we have a delectable range of Father’s Day chocolates and gifts that are sure to be up his street. From the Happy Father’s Day Chocolate Pocket Collection, the perfect token of affection, to a generous Father’s Day Sleekster brimming with 27 utterly irresistible chocolates, there’s something for every budget, too. Each one is beautifully packaged in a fun Father’s Day design. Why not explore our range of hot chocolate sachets, too?

Or perhaps you know exactly what kind of chocolate your dad adores. Whether he appreciates the refreshing notes of a Mint Royale Selector or can’t get enough of decadent 85% Dark Hot Chocolate, you can mix and match items to create your own gift box. Top it off with a beautiful gift wrap option at the checkout.