How 9 Countries Celebrate Father's Day

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iStock

Happy Father’s Day! This year, are you thinking of honoring your pop by wearing pink, drinking Schnapps in the woods and touching his feet with your forehead? Turns out you’re not alone in celebrating this way. 

1. IN THAILAND

Father’s Day in Thailand isn’t until December 5th. And that’s because the day coincides with the birthday of their current king (in this case, Bhumibol Adulyadej). It’s also a recent tradition to wear pink, after King Bhumibol was seen in 2007 leaving a hospital in a pink blazer following a health scare. Another (fading) custom involves Thais giving the gift of a Canna flower to their fathers and grandfathers. So, if you’re not looking forward to a day of Buds at Applebee’s, do we have an alternative for you!

2. IN RUSSIA

The closest thing to Father’s Day here is Defender of the Fatherland Day, originally established to commemorate the establishment of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Now observed on February 23rd, it is a day to honor not only those serving in the military, but men in general. Thus, in addition to getting gifts from their children, fathers can sometimes expect gifts from female co-workers. Twice as many ties to not wear!

3. IN NEPAL

The country’s Gokarna Aunsi is not actually celebrated until late summer, and it’s not officially a Father’s Day in the Western sense. In fact, its name literally translates to “cow eared no moon night.” So where does pops factor in? Well, not only does he get some gifts, he is honored to be touched on his feet by his son’s forehead. Hopefully, one of the gifts in question was socks.

4. IN ROMANIA

There’s not much unusual about Father’s Day here … other than there finally is one. Romania is notable in that it was the last EU nation to have a Father’s Day, which wasn’t made official until 2010. This change largely came due to the efforts of a group called TATA, or the Alliance Fighting Discrimination Against Fathers. 

5., 6. and 7. IN ITALY, SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

Father’s Day in these predominantly Catholic nations coincides with the Feast of St. Joseph, an observation in honor of guys named Joe, carpenters, things like that. However, since the Feast falls on March 19th, it comes right in the middle of Lent, meaning—gasp!—no meat. On Father’s Day. You might as well take your mom out for a night of MMA while you’re at it.

8. IN GERMANY

Now here’s a place that gets it right—or at least did get it right. First of all, Father’s Day (Vatertag) here is a federal holiday.  Secondly, the traditional celebration involves men going on hikes in the woods pulling wagons loaded with beer and schnapps. Then they get loaded. Sadly, in modern times, this celebration has essentially devolved into an amateur-hour pub crawl, but hey, the idea was sound.

9. IN THE UNITED STATES

We’re guessing you are up on how Father’s Day is celebrated here in the states: a call to your pop. However, unlike Mother’s Day, you seem to not have any trouble sticking your parental unit with the charges. This traditionally makes Father’s Day the busiest day of the year for collect calls … and makes you kind of a cheapskate. 

9 Other Things That Happened on July 4

iStock/LPETTET
iStock/LPETTET

Of course we know that July 4 is Independence Day in the U.S. But lots of other things have happened on that date as well. Here are just a few of them:

1. Three former presidents died.

On July 4, 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—America's second and third presidents, respectively—both passed away. The two politicians had a love-hate relationship, and Adams's last words were supposedly, "Thomas Jefferson survives." (He didn't know that Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier.) Exactly five years later, on July 4, 1831, fifth U.S. President James Monroe died in New York City.

2. Henry David Thoreau moved to Walden Pond.

On July 4, 1845, Henry David Thoreau began his two-year living experiment at Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts.

3. Alice Liddell first heard the story of Alice in Wonderland.

On July 4, 1862, little Alice Liddell listened to a story told by Lewis Carroll during a boat trip on the Thames ... it would later become, of course, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It was published exactly three years later—on July 4, 1865.

4. Two famous advice columnists were born.

On July 4, 1918, twin sisters Esther Pauline and Pauline Esther Friedman were born. Today they're better known as Ann Landers and Dear Abby.

5. George Steinbrenner came into the world.

On July 4, 1930, future Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was born (and presumably fired the doctor immediately).

6. Lou Gehrig delivered his retirement speech.

On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig gave his famous retirement speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with ALS. He tells the crowd that he considers himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

7. The Zodiac Killer killed for the first time. (As far as we know.)

On July 4, 1968, the Zodiac Killer murdered his first victims (that we know of) at Lake Herman Road in Benicia, California.

8. Koko was born.

On July 4, 1971, Koko, the sign-language gorilla, was born.

9. Bob Ross passed away.

On July 4, 1995, Bob Ross died, and all over the world, Happy Little Trees were a little less happy.

This list first ran in 2008 and was updated for 2019.

10,000 People Gathered at Stonehenge to Welcome the Summer Solstice

Finnbarr Webster, Getty Images
Finnbarr Webster, Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to welcome the start of summer. Today, people visiting Stonehenge took that celebration to a whole new level.

The BBC reported that an estimated 10,000 people made the pilgrimage to the 5000-year-old site to partake in summer solstice festivities. "Stonehenge was built to align with the Sun, and to Neolithic people, the skies were arguably as important as the surrounding landscape," Susan Greaney, a senior historian at English Heritage, said in a statement. "At solstice we remember the changing daylight hours, but the changing seasons, the cycles of the Moon, and movements of the Sun are likely to have underpinned many practical spiritual aspects of Neolithic life."

These spiritual aspects are just one of the many fascinating facts about the summer solstice; the day is an extremely old calendar event recognized by ancient cultures across the globe. They include the Druids and other pagans, whose tradition of observing the solstice at Stonehenge has long been upheld by modern revelers.

Scientifically speaking, Stonehenge is an optimal viewing place for the solstice due to its structure. According to TIME, the site’s architects appeared to have kept both the summer and winter solstices in mind during its construction, as the positions of the stones are specifically tuned to complement the sky on both occasions.

The solstices were sacred to the pagans, whose modern-day followers continue to honor their rituals. Pagans in particular refer to the day as Litha, and mark it with activities such as meditation, fire rites, and outdoor yoga.

“What you’re celebrating on a mystical level is that you’re looking at light at its strongest," Frank Somers, a member of the Amesbury and Stonehenge Druids, said in 2014. "It represents things like the triumph of the king, the power of light over darkness, and just life—life at its fullest."

Those who were unable to make the journey can head over to the Stonehenge Skyscape project's website, where English Heritage’s interactive live feed fully captured the experience.

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