There is a pretty simple explanation of why Australia celebrates Father's Day on the first Sunday of September. Other countries, including the US and UK, mark it on the third Sunday of June.
While our Mother’s Day celebration lines up with most of the world in May, Father’s Day in Australia is a full three months after other countries
Father’s Day in Australia
Way back in 1911, a Sydney newspaper suggested “seasonal” reasons: “September should be the month in which to hail him, king, for, under the Southern Cross, it is in that month Dad's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
By the 1940s, Australia had embraced Father’s Day and celebrated it on the first Sunday in September each year. And it is highly anticipated. It is not declared a public holiday.
Most broadcasters suggest the date was chosen for commercial reasons, to fit around other times on the Aussie calendar and the beginning of Spring.
Fathers have entered the New-Age
Father's roles have been progressively evolving.
New parenting ideas, values, economics, and education have all brought about this change.
Technology has opened up new opportunities to work from home and take care of families. New-age fathers are welcome these days.
When I was growing up, the new-age concept was non-existent. Back in the '60s, I remember my dad as a loving father, a hardworking man who could be a little strict at times. He was the traditional married breadwinner and disciplinarian in the family.
Back then, most traditional fathers did not openly show affection or emotions. Children did not have many opportunities to get close to their fathers. Most relied on their own experience to navigate through their domestic life.
The new-age father, however, has taken a transformation; he is more domestically independent; he has taken over some of the nurturing responsibilities previously done by women.
My son is a good example, he provides emotional and discipline support for his children. They have a friendly relationship more like close friends.
New-age fathers can affect their children’s self-esteem, emotional stability and mental health.
Stay-at-home dads are slowly growing in number. It had increased from 1.9 per cent in 1981 to 4.6 per cent in 2016.
The average age of dads with a newborn is now 33, with age rising steadily since the 1970s when the average age was 26 years.
They are influencing the next generation, new-age fathers are more reachable, compassionate, and patient.
The Australian Traditions on Father’s Day
Exclusive gifts, breakfasts in bed or father's favourite restaurant are standard gifts. But in the digital age, our search for the perfect present is often done online.
Many of us turn to Google in the weeks before Father’s Day, with GPS navigation devices, soccer gear, hardware, outdoors supplies and car merchandise the most popular searches.
And, since Australia's seasons are at different times to those in the northern hemisphere, we can celebrate in the spring sunshine rather than shivering through a winter's day in June.
Some families go out of town so they can experience the beach or the mountainsides on Father’s Day.
Some fathers prefer just strolling in beautiful and well-maintained parks and find a relaxing spot there.
The religious community also takes time to hear mass or attend a religious gathering during this special day for fathers.
The schools in Australia do not fail to remind their students to greet their fathers or father figures on Father’s Day.
Father's Day a Good Day for Retailers
According to the NSW News, Father's Day favouritism has been uncovered by new research that shows families are spending more on dads than mums.
According to The Commonwealth Bank, Australian spend 15 per cent more in the two-week lead-up to Father's Day compared with Mother's Day last year.
Spending for Father’s Day had increased sharply in recent years to $1.58 billion, and the average spend per gift was $50 compared with $47 for mums, it found.
Rohan Ritchie, the bank’s general manager everyday banking and payments, said there could be several factors behind the extra spend on fathers.
“Perhaps we prefer to give mum flowers and chocolates whereas for dad we might go with gadgets or ties, which can cost slightly more,” he said.
The research also found that technology and gadgets were the fastest-growing spending category for Father’s Day, and hardware was less popular than fashion.
Male grooming products have become increasingly popular, as dads become more comfortable looking after their appearance.
Cosmetic and grooming product manufacturers are working hard to penetrate the previously untapped, but sizeable, male market.
The first Sunday of September is the best time to appreciate and honour the works of all fathers, including brothers, uncles, friends, and all the people who act the roles of a father.
Armed with these Father’s Day facts, you now have even more reason to appreciate the day we dedicate to dads. And as you celebrate with food or hand over a gift, don’t forget to tell the dads in your life how you appreciate everything they do.
Happy Father's Day!