Celebrating Father’s Day in mainland Europe dates back to at least the Middle Ages and was observed on March 19, the feast day of St Joseph. It was a feast in honour of the ‘father’ of Jesus.
This celebration was taken to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese. In Latin America, Father’s Day is still celebrated on March 19. Father’s Day was not celebrated in the US, outside Catholic traditions, until the 20th century. It was only during the latter part of the 20th century that Father’s Day gained in popularity. As far as I am aware, it was never celebrated in Malta and when I became aware of its introduction in many countries around the world I felt I had to do something about it.
Early in June 1977 (40 years ago) I started to make references to Father’s Day in my daily children’s programmes. Some children did, in fact, surprise their fathers by wishing them a good day and thanking them for what they had done for them. I had also managed to persuade the radio and TV news bulletins to highlight this day.
I am proud of my efforts to give Father’s Day the importance it deserves. I encourage all families to treasure their parents. While mothers enjoys the full love and respect of their children, fathers often do not get any special recognition. However, the role of the father is an essential and important one, and all children should be grateful to them.