Time with dad is well spent, as is $1400 for a Top Gun Jet Fighter experience.
Time with dad is well spent, as is $1400 for a Top Gun Jet Fighter experience. Sean Prior

Honour efforts of your father

SEPTEMBER 2 is probably highlighted in your calendar with big bold circles and double underlines.

But, let's face it, we hardly need much reminding with Father's Day displays in shopping centres and newsagencies highlighting the celebration since July.

Whether you poo-poo the day as just another commercial enterprise or look forward earnestly to a family get-together, stopping for a minute to let your dad know he's special, provided he is or was, can hardly be a bad thing.

That, of course, was why Father's Day came into being in the first place.

Ancient mythology points to a date some 4000 years ago when a young boy, Elmusu, wished his Babylonian father good health and long life by carving a message on a card made of clay.

A special day of honouring fathers has continued in some form in countries around the world with those influenced by the Catholic Church using St Joseph's Day (March 19) as the chosen day of celebration.

The roots of the way we celebrate today, in a much more secular fashion, seems to lie with Sonora Smart Dodd, a resident of Spokane, Washington, who came up with the idea while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Sonora and her five siblings were raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died in childbirth and she wanted to honour his parental sacrifices.

The idea soon caught on and in 1924 American president Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day in the United States.

In Australia Father's Day falls on the first Sunday of September and people tend to spend it with family or at community days out.

It's interesting to note that we spend twice the amount of money on our mothers than we do our dads with average gifts for the latter totalling about $30.

Still, here in Australia we are likely to spend about $650 million on Father's Day, down on last year as we feel the pinch of the economic downturn.

Cafes and restaurants, according to research done by IBISWorld, are likely to be the top earners ($152m) with hardware and electrical retailers expected to net $140m.

While handmade cards with crayon drawings to go with a cardboard tie may have melted your dad's heart when you were five, gifts from adult children are expected to carry a bit more, dare we say it, financial thought.

Traditional gifts like music and movies, toiletries, tools and even socks are always popular, but time-poor adults are also looking to the internet for unusual, innovative gifts that don't normally cost the Earth and can be delivered on time.

Hampers and baskets filled with alcohol and indulgent morsels are a hit as are sports memorabilia sites, online magazine subscriptions and websites that offer weekend getaways and a range of unique experiences.

And what about the dad that has everything?

How about a Top Gun Jet Fighter ride?

It will set you back $1400 but your dad won't forget ripping across the sky in excess of 900kmh and pulling up to 5Gs in a modern L-39 Jet Fighter (jetride.com.au).

Whatever you choose for your dad let it come from the heart, even if it's a simple phone call to say you care.


Father's Day around the world

March 14 - Iran

March 19 - Bolivia, Honduras, Italy, Lichtenstein, Portugal, Spain

May 8 - South Korea

First Sunday in June - Lithuania

Second Sunday in June - Austria, Ecuador, Belgium

Third Sunday in June - Antigua, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Zimbabwe

June 17 - El Salvador, Guatemala

June 23 - Nicaragua, Poland, Uganda

Second Sunday in July - Uruguay

Last Sunday in July - Dominican Republic

Second Sunday in August - Brazil

August 8 - Taiwan, China

August 24 - Argentina

First Sunday in September - Australia, New Zealand

New Moon of September - Nepal

First Sunday in October - Luxembourg

Second Sunday in November - Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden

December 5 - Thailand


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