Fars dag (Father’s Day)

Imported from the U.S. where it originated in 1910, Father’s Day came to Scandinavian countries in 1931. It brings a bit more life to the darkness of fall and is celebrated on the second Sunday in November. It’s also a chance to boost sales before the Christmas rush begins. As in the U.S. the classic gift is a tie. Other common gifts include breakfast in bed and cards made by the kids.

Pappa is the Swedish equivalent to “dad” and Far is the equivalent to “father.” Grandpa doesn’t give any hint to whether it is your mother or your father’s father but there is a distinction in Swedish. Your farfar is your father’s father, and your morfar is your mother’s father. Of course the same kind of system applies to mothers (mors) with mormor and farmor and mother’s day is the last Sunday in May. It’s a little confusing when you are first introduced to this naming system, but it makes a lot of sense once you get it straight.

Happy fars dag (FAHRS-dahg) to all the pappas, fars, farfars and morfars!

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Categories: holidays & customs, Sweden+


I moved to Sweden in 2008. This blog is for people who would like to learn more about Swedish food and culture.


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2 Comments on “Fars dag (Father’s Day)”

  1. Dad/bill
    November 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Is there an explanation for the difference in dates of Swedish Fars dag and American Father’s Day? Pappa

    • November 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

      I added a link the history of Father’s Day in the U.S. It was founded in June to honor the father of Sonora Smart Dodd. She is credited with starting Father’s Day and her father’s birthday was in June. In Scandinavia in 1949 the initiative was taken by the merchants’ representative group (köpmannaförbunden) to have father’s day the second weekend in November to stimulate sales before the Christmas rush. So it was really a practical issue that was pushed by the merchants’ association. 🙂

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