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Celebrating Father’s Day in Egypt: A Brief History

June 21, 2023
Photo Credit: Father’s Day Campaign Photo via Official Floward Website

Families play a significant role in peoples’ lives, with multiple days across the year made to celebrate different family members.

Children’s Day, Baby Day, and Cousin’s Day are just a few of the lesser known occasions. Most are probably more familiar with Mother’s Day, a widespread cultural celebration that takes place on different days depending on the country.

While in the United States Mother’s Day is on every second Sunday of May, here in Egypt it is celebrated every 21 March — and it is rarely overlooked by children, husbands, or even corporations.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Egyptian Father’s Day.

While the day is celebrated to some extent every 21 June, it does not receive the same attention as its counterpart.

To understand why the day receives comparatively little attention, a look back at the creation of Egyptian Mother’s Day in 1956 is needed.

Journalist Mostafa Amin advocated for the day, inspired by American activist Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, and it was adopted into the Egyptian calendar as a way to celebrate mothers.

At this time, Father’s Day did not exist in the Arab world as it was an exclusively Western occasion. It only came into being after the government tried to change Mother’s Day to Family Day — a decision rejected by the general public.

The notion of Family Day prompted fathers to wonder why men were not allocated a day as well. Amin evidently had the same thought, because in 1985 he proposed the idea for an Egyptian Father’s Day on 10 January.

The idea gained enough traction that the occasion was officially celebrated the following year. Unfortunately, Amin ran into some political trouble by harshly criticizing the Egyptian government, which caused some of his ideas — like Father’s Day — to be forgotten.

Nevertheless, the day was eventually revived. It was first adopted into the constitution of Lebanon as an official celebration before being commemorated by Google in 2016. To legitimize the day further among Arab countries, Egypt also declared 21 June as Father’s Day.

The fact that it falls on the day of the Summer solstice, while interesting, does not seem to have anything to do with the occasion itself.

Still, it is an altogether smaller celebration than Mother’s Day in Egypt, and sometimes goes entirely unacknowledged. Even some local branches of companies opt to recognize the Western date instead of the local one.

However, efforts to spread awareness about Egyptian Father’s Day have been made in recent years.

Most notably, ElAraby Group made news for being the first brand to celebrate the day in Egypt in 2021. They released a short advert that highlighted what fathers mean to their kids, and all the reasons they are appreciated. It was an emotional video, perfect for the often neglected day of recognition.

A similar effort was carried out the following year by online flower and gift delivery service Floward. In celebration, they released a new line of products designed for fathers, like special bouquets. After all, if mothers can enjoy flowers, why not normalize the same for men?

It seems likely that more companies will follow the trend and raise awareness for Father’s Day in Egypt in 2023.

In the meantime, it is up to Egyptians to do their part and let their fathers know how dearly they are appreciated for all that they do.

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