Father's Day in South Africa

When is Father's Day in South Africa?

Father's Day in South Africa is on June 18, 2023. It falls on Sunday.

How many days until Father's Day in South Africa?

There are 309 Days left until Father's Day in South Africa.

Is Father's Day a public holiday in South Africa?

Father’s Day is a special day celebrated as a tribute to the contributions made by fathers and all father figures to the family. Like many other countries around the world, South Africa celebrates this occasion on the third Sunday of June every year. In the Afrikaans language, Father’s Day is known as 'Vadersdag'. Although this special occasion is observed by many South Africans, Father’s Day is not designated as a public holiday in the country, which means that most of the country’s businesses, establishments and organizations follow regular Sunday business schedules.

Father's Day Origin

Father’s Day is an occasion observed to honor and appreciate all fathers and/or father figures. This is a celebration widely recognized by many countries around the globe. Although its date of observance may vary, most of the countries, including South Africa, celebrate this day on the third Sunday of June each year. According to records, the first Father’s Day celebration officially occurred way back 19th of June 1910, in the state of Washington.

How did Father's Day start?

This celebration started through a woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd (1882–1978), a resident of Spokane, Washington, who petitioned for the establishment of Father’s Day. She believed that fathers and other father figures, just like mothers, have also made big sacrifices for their children and their family’s well-being. Thus, they should have a special day of their own (like Mother’s Day), where they can be honored and appreciated. The campaign was supported by the local churches, the Spokane Ministerial Association, the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), and was even acknowledged by the government of the Washington state. It was first officially observed in Washington on June 19, 1910. Years later, it became a popular celebration not just in the United States, but to many other countries in the world, including South Africa.


Father's Day Traditions in South Africa

Father’s Day is a special day meant to honor one’s father or anyone acting as a father figure in one’s life (that includes grandfathers, older brothers, uncles, stepfathers, etc.). In South Africa, though the day is not a public holiday, the celebration is still taken seriously. South Africans celebrate this day in various ways, depending on each family’s practices. However, the following are the most common practices observed by many people on this day:

Gift-Giving

Giving gifts has become a customary practice in South Africa during the country’s celebration of Father’s Day. These gifts, either big or small, expensive, or not, is the best way seen by many South Africans to better express their gratitude and appreciation towards their fathers and father figures. The fathers (like mothers) are the main pillars responsible for the upbringing and the development of the child’s physical and emotional well-being. So, on Father’s Day, it is not uncommon for most South Africans to give back to their fathers or anyone whom they have paternal bonds with, by presenting them with gifts, and making the day special for them. The gifts typically given are custom hamper, flowers, box of chocolates & sweets, champagne, South African wine, whisky, brandies (and other good quality alcoholic drinks), customized beer bottle, cigars, clothing, accessories, and biltong (Biltong is a dried, cured meat originating in Southern African countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, etc.). The children would also hand out special Father’s Day cards to be given on all father figures in the family. The cards are usually personally made, making it extra special for the recipients.

Special Meal

A special meal is observed by many people in South Africa during Father’s Day. The country’s restaurants (be it fine dining or average restaurants) gets a bit crowded at this time of year since a lot of people would choose to eat outside to celebrate the day. And while it is a popular choice for many South Africans to arrange for a special lunch or dinner outside, several others would also stay home and prepare special home-cooked meals for their dads instead. Typical dishes commonly served on this day are bobotie (a South African dish which consists of a spiced minced meat, baked with an egg-based toppings), boerewors (a type of sausage of South African origin), biltong tartare, roasted vegetables, salads, and Father’s Day cake.

Family Gatherings

Although Father’s Day is not a public holiday, yet since it is observed on a Sunday, family gatherings is oftentimes seen in South Africa. The celebration is taken by many as an opportunity to hang around with families and relatives and celebrate the occasion together. Whether the celebration is simple or extravagant, Father’s Day becomes an exceptional celebration if it is spent with one’s own family and loved ones. In South Africa, those sons/daughters who are old enough to drink alcoholic beverages, often treat their fathers to a drink on this day too.

Common Activities

Being a father is never an easy job. Considering the wide responsibilities all fathers shoulder, it is just right to have a special day where they can be honored and appreciated. In South Africa, aside from gifts and special meals, another way to show their love and care for their fathers is by taking over on his chores on Father’s Day. Their fathers are especially taken care of on this day. Some would even prepare breakfast in bed for their dads, while greeting him a Happy Father’s Day early in the morning.

Spending Father’s Day outdoors is also common in South Africa. South Africa, being located in the Southern Hemisphere, has its winter season from June to August, opposite to the season in the countries belonging to the Northern Hemisphere. Although the month of June is the start of the winter season in the country, the weather is still generally dry and cool since at this time, the snow would only fall in the mountainous regions (except Cape Town, this city gets most of its rain in wintertime due to its Mediterranean climate). Therefore, picnics, braais (barbecues in English), and other outdoor activities which most dads like to do (e.g. fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking, etc.) are also popular choices taken by many South Africans to celebrate Father’s Day.

Dates of Observance for Father's Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2023 June 18 Sunday Father's Day
2024 June 16 Sunday Father's Day
2025 June 15 Sunday Father's Day
2026 June 21 Sunday Father's Day
2027 June 20 Sunday Father's Day
2028 June 18 Sunday Father's Day
Upcoming South Africa Holidays
Holiday Date
Heritage Day September 24, 2022
Day of Reconciliation December 16, 2022
Christmas Day December 25, 2022