Didn’t you celebrate Father’s Day today? Then you may not be based in Antwerp

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Forgot to buy a gift for your father today? No pressure, at least if you don’t live in Antwerp. The majority of Belgians celebrate Father’s Day on the second Sunday in June. But the people of Antwerp have already done so on March 19th. This may have something to do with the Spanish occupation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

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The official Father’s Day comes from the United States. In 1909, American Sonara Louise Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father because he had a hard life. Then she came up with the idea to celebrate Father’s Day every year. However, the holiday was not officially recognized until 1972 by then-President Richard Nixon.

But, like Mother’s Day, Antwerp does it a little differently. Just like in Spain and Portugal – not coincidentally two Catholic countries – in Antwerp the Fathers are celebrated on March 19, on the name day of Joseph van Nazareth.

Why does Antwerp, as the only province in Belgium, choose to celebrate Father’s Day on March 19th? There is no consensus on this. A possible explanation is the strong relationship between Antwerp and Spain. Sengornstad was occupied by the Spaniards in the 16th and 17th centuries. This may have been when the tradition began.

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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