“¡Felicidades, papá!” is by far the most repeated sentence every 19th of March in Spain. Today, just like our neighbours in Italy, Portugal and Andorra, we celebrate Father’s Day. Those who are not Catholic might think that there is nothing special behind this date, but there is. The 19th of March is also Saint Joseph’s Day, Jesus Christ’s father, which shows how closely related our celebrations and our Catholic tradition are.
The rest of the countries in the world celebrate Father’s Day on different dates. The 3rd of June is nevertheless the most common among them, probably due to the influence of The United States of America. After all, this day was first celebrated in the early 20th century in that country, from where it spread throughout the whole world until it became the special occasion it is everywhere today.
The origin of this day in Spain traces back to the late 1940’s, when a teacher from Madrid thought it would be a good idea for her pupils to handcraft a little present for their fathers as they had been doing for their mothers. The idea was such a success that it drew the attention of the department stores at the time, whose managers took the opportunity to use it for their own benefit. Over 60 years later, every 19th of March becomes one of our favourite excuses to go the shopping centre.
Nowadays it seems impossible to separate this kind of celebrations from the consumerism in our society. The traditional ties or colognes, along with the state-of-the-art electronic devices are just a few of the many “baits” used to lure as many consumers as possible into buying the “perfect present”. These days, however, I prefer to commemorate the origin of Father’s Day in Spain. I like to think of all those children –including me– who have handcrafted ashtrays out of clay, cardboard picture frames decorated with anything from seashells to macaronis, or coloured cardboard ties for their daddies since the mid-20th century.
And you, what are you getting your dad for Father’s Day?
Share it with us below!