Viewpoint Spring 2019

Dad is spending time with his child lying on the green grass outdoors. Happy cute little girl playing with her father in the park with a bird toy. Happy father's Day. Daddy and daughter shares love.
David Ahern

David Ahern

Current editor of The Majellan, David has spent more than 40 years as an editor/journalist

Fathers are special but why celebrate in September?

By the time you receive this issue, Father’s Day may have come and gone. That special day for honouring fathers was held on the first day of September in Australia and New Zealand.

A belated thank you, therefore, to fathers for the important role you play in family life and I hope you were duly acknowledged by your loved ones. Sadly, my father passed away 22 years ago, and barely a day goes by without me thinking about him. He was a loving husband to my mother for almost 50 years, and a wonderfully caring dad to six children. He will always be much-loved and much-missed.

While Father’s Day carries an element of sadness, for me and for the many others who have lost their fathers, it recently got me thinking why we celebrate the occasion almost three months after Britain and the US where it’s held on the third Sunday in June. Mother’s Day, in comparison, is generally held around the world on the same day in May.

Why, may you ask? A little history to begin with. Australia first jumped onboard the Father’s Day bandwagon in 1936, 26 years after the US. Going back much further and from around the late 14th or early 15th century, the Catholic Church in Europe encouraged fatherhood to be celebrated on St Joseph’s Day on March 19.

Back to the present and the first half of the year, as we know, is filled with a wonderful assortment of public holidays and special events. Let’s see. There’s New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Labour Day (some states in March), Good Friday, Easter Monday, ANZAC Day, Mother’s Day and the Queen’s Birthday (Except WA). There’s also the Australian tennis Open, the formula one grand prix, Tour Down Under (cycling) and a myriad of arts and music festivals around the country.

However, the second half of the year is a ‘desert’ with only a smattering of public holidays and special events, including the NRL and AFL grand finals and Melbourne Cup, which is why for many of us it feels like a long stretch until Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

That’s where the placement of Father’s Day in September comes in. When you think of it solely in retail and marketing terms, not much happens from late June to late December, except for the aforementioned special events. A theory described as ‘holiday fatigue’ and promoted by retail experts, claim consumers grow tired of constantly being blitzed with holidays and product specials so ‘we’, the consumers, need time to recover.  

Father’s Day in early September is perfectly placed and helps even the year out in terms of special events. Retailers can go hell for leather enticing us to spend up big on our fathers knowing Christmas is still some way off. In the end it gets down to the all-powerful dollar.

So, once Father’s Day is done and dusted it’s time for a breather. But the respite will be short because in just over three months the festive season will be in full swing and our senses will be bombarded with a multitude of gift ideas and bargain offers. I’m tired already.

Majellan has two books about fathers, Celebrate Fathers and The Husband Handbook

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