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12 Father’s Day Traditions from Around the World

Fishing? Skeletons? Lighters? Check out the different ways Father's Day is celebrated across the globe.

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Pouring a beer for dad for Father’s DayKristen Prahl/Getty Images

Father, in any language

In America, Father’s Day isn’t complete without dad firing up the grill, sports on the tube, and plenty of beer to go around. Want to mix it up this time? Try these Father’s Day traditions from around the world. Find out why we celebrate Father’s Day in the first place.

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Germany: It’s all about the beer

Germany has its fair share of beer customs, from Oktoberfest to the Stuttgart Beer Festival. But many people are unaware that Germany’s beer tradition carries over to Father’s Day, where you’ll find dads chugging beer, riding beer bikes, and celebrating from morning to night with…beer. It’s a huge day filled with day-drinking and debauchery. In fact, traditionally, Father’s Day is so scandalous that it’s a public holiday (a day off work), and the following day is also a day off followed by a weekend so that all those beer-drinking fathers can recover.

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Thailand: Here’s a flower

Father’s Day is celebrated on December 5 to honor King Bhumibol (his birthday), the honorary father of Thailand. On this day, fathers throughout the country receive canna flowers, which are similar to lilies but thought to be “masculine.” Canna flowers are also believed to be a sacred plant, able to protect those who encounter it.

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Russia: Join the parade

In Russia, they usually go big on Father’s Day with parades to celebrate all the dads, according to Time. The parades began as a military commemoration but soon became a tribute to men; the Russian Armed Forces are celebrated, and men typically receive gifts from their children and partners. Looking for something to do closer to home? Here are 17 Father’s Day activities that dads will appreciate.

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Mexico: Time to party

It’s always a party in Mexico, so it’s no surprise that Father’s Day is no different. In late June, Father’s Day is celebrated with a race in Mexico City called the Carrera del Dia del Padre. Like many other Father’s Day throughout the globe, fathers in Mexico are typically gifted ties and other little trinkets from their family.

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Finland: Get cozy

In Finland, Father’s Day involves breakfast in bed, cake and coffee, and all the coziness as it falls on the second Sunday in November. Last year, it became an official flag day, joining Mother’s Day in that it’s considered such an important day that the Finnish flag must be flown on official buildings. This was seen as an important recognition for dads’ roles as caregivers. Traditionally, fathers receive homemade rather than store-bought gifts. Find out these Father’s Day crafts you can make in one day.

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Nepal: A sentimental day

Here, Father’s Day is called “Gokarna Aunsi,” literally translated as “Cow earned no moon night,” according to the Daily News. On Father’s Day, which is celebrated at the end of the summer, in addition to gifts, daughters will put their foreheads up to their father’s hands while sons put their foreheads on their father’s feet in an expression of gratitude. Gifts are also given. We can be sentimental, too. Read about the 20 dads who share the sweetest, most heartwarming father’s day gifts they ever received.

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France: Here’s a light

Originally, Flaminaire, a lighter company, created Father’s Day in France in 1949. Not surprisingly, they suggested that lighters would be the ideal gift. While it was a popular gift at the time, although today it’s more common to gift French dads with homemade drawings or other goodies, according to iNews.

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Japan: A totally different experience

It should come as no surprise that fish plays an important role in Japan’s Father’s Day. The big day is celebrated with a big meal of crab or prawns (similar to shrimp), according to Hayes & Jarvis. Kids make beer glasses for their dads or hand over a box of candy. Surprisingly, cologne is also a popular Father’s Day gift as well in Japan. On a budget? These are the 60 best gifts for dad under $60.

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Brazil: All you can eat

If you’re familiar with any of the Brazilian steakhouses across the United States, then you may be better equipped to understand Brazil’s Father’s Day: they simply love their food (deservedly so). Father’s Day is on the day of St. Joachim, who is the patron saint of fathers, and on this day, there are massive feats, all-you-can eat adventures, barbecues filled with skewers of roasting chicken, beef, sausage and more, according to Hayes & Jarvis.

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Fishing rod, spinning reel on the background pier river bank. Sunrise. Fog against the backdrop of lake. Misty morning. wild nature. The concept of rural getaway. Article about fishing day.Serhii Sobolevskyi/Getty Images

South Africa: Go fishing

On Father’s Day, dads are presented with gifts similar to those in the United States: trinkets, ties, cards, and homemade items from the kids. During the day, families have picnics and often go fishing, according to SheKnows. Get lucky during your fishing outing, and families will have fish for their Father’s Day dinner. These 30 father-son quotes are perfect for Father’s Day.

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Uruguay: Get out the ghosts

Fathers are honored by hanging skeletons outside their doors which represent Padre Esqueleto (translation: Father Skeleton), according to iNews. We hesitate to ask whether these are actual skeletons or are replicas. Not a fan of skeleton gifts? Check out these 25 funny Father’s Day gifts you can have delivered.

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Australia: Competition for Dad of the Year

While most of this day is comparable to America’s celebration—gifts, cards, and a nice dinner—there’s one glaring difference. In Australia, one father receives the Australian Father of the Year award. He must be an inspirational and involved father who inspires the entire community and has contributed to Australia via his professional, personal, or academic success. You are allowed to nominate your own father for the award.

Danielle Braff
Danielle Braff regularly covers travel, health and lifestyle for Reader's Digest. Her articles have also been published in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe and other publications. She has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a master's degree in musicology from Oxford University in England. Danielle is based in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two children. See her recent articles at You can follow her on Facebook @Danielle.Karpinos, Twitter @daniellebraff, and Instagram at danikarp.