Father’s Day: It’s here but does anyone care?

fathers-dayDo you remember your last Father’s Day? It’s alright, neither do I. Every Mother’s Day I hear the same remarks from my dad, “Do fathers even have a day, because it sure doesn’t feel like it in this household.” While my sister and I fuss over the perfect gift for our mother, we also try to deny his accusations (unsuccessfully) at the same time.

It is no secret that such western-influenced holidays are nothing but an effective way for the card and flower companies to make money. One only needs to try and find flowers that don’t cost an arm and a leg on Valentine’s Day to know this. But I digress.

A phenomenon observed all around the world is that fathers seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to celebrating a day in their honour.

In this age of consumerism, when every occasion or non-occasion under the sun is celebrated, why is it that Father’s Day doesn’t get as much importance as, well, any other day? Maybe fathers just aren’t a viable target market. The general belief is that mothers tend to be more emotional creatures and hence, more susceptible to marketing ploys and advertisements. Their expectations from their day are much higher than their male counterparts. Fathers, on the other hand, apparently don’t need such reinforcements.

“Mothers cherish such days more because the commercials and card companies force them to. Dads tend to be less sensitive and mostly don’t care about making a big fuss out of the day,” said Ali Arsalan Soomro, a corporate lawyer.

The same opinion was shared by Sana Ahmad, a production manager. “Father’s Day does not share the same level of celebration due to the male attitude and sentiment for celebrating man-made occasions. They’re indifferent to them,” she said.

There are also religious connotations. Many people don’t celebrate this day because they don’t believe in it. As film director Syed Noor said, “We don’t really celebrate this day. My family and I are more religiously-inclined and aren’t influenced by these western holidays.”

Another reason for not celebrating Father’s Day with much fanfare, could be directly proportionate to the amount of time a child spends with a parent. Most households in our country follow a traditional set-up. Men usually work, while the women stay at home and take care of the children. Hence, it’s easier for the child to bond more with the mother, and so, in that regard, maybe celebrating mothers comes much more naturally to a child.

Having said that, there are a growing number of people that think this should be rectified. “As a daughter I’m much more attached to my father and would like to see more ads and promotions for Father’s Day in Pakistan. Lord knows, we celebrate every other holiday to the hilt,” said Ayeza Siddiqi, an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan.

Mothers also help their children realise the importance of their fathers. Actor and model Zhalay Sarhadi said, “I don’t celebrate it, but yes my little daughter does. She gives presents to her father, courtesy of me, of course! But this time, he was in China, so she called and wished him.”

I think Swedish writer J August Strindberg summarised it best when he said, “That is the thankless position of the father in the family —the provider for all, and the enemy of all.” And so, this Father’s Day, I hope every father knows just how important he is to his child. Your children may not say it enough, but we love you very much. Thanks for tolerating us and our asinine ways.

Gift Ideas For the foodie:

Depending which city you’re in, treat your father to a scrumptious Sunday brunch at Cafe 76 or lunch at Tiramisu, Aylanto or Cafe Flo. If he prefers Pakistani cuisine, take him for dinner to Andaaz or Pakistani at Pearl Continental Hotel.

For the dad that’s
difficult to shop for:

As far as easy, yet effective, gifts are concerned, ties and/or cufflinks are sure shot winners with fathers (and men generally).

For the emotional dad:

Other than spending time with him, personalised gift items should go a long way with this type of dad. Some of the gifts can include personalised t-shirts, mugs and framed photographs; you could get bonus points for framing a picture of dad when he was young.

For the digital dad (and rich child):

Tablets such as iPads, the Blackberry Playbook or the Samsung Galaxy Tab should keep any tech-enthusiast very happy.

For the adventurous dad:

Visit a theme or water park and bond with your father on a dune buggy or a water slide — depending on how adventurous you both are feeling.

How it all began

The idea to honour fathers was conceived by Sonora Dodd from Washington, USA in 1909. While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon, she realised that she wanted to honour her father, William Smart. He was a widowed Civil War veteran who had raised six children all by himself. The first Father’s Day celebration was chosen by her town’s mayor to be on June 19, 1910, because it was Smart’s birth day. However, it was in 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a law, making it permanent. The day has been celebrated annually since then.

Mother’s Day, on the other hand, was legalised in 1914 through the efforts of American Anna Jarvis.

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