June 20, 2011

June 19th: Father's Day

Yesterday was Father's Day in Mexico. Día del Padre (Day of Fathers) always falls on the third Sunday in June, so its date, unlike Mother's Day, can change. Other than that, the day holds many similarities to Día de las Madres, only the parental focus has changed.

Día del Padre

Día del Padre is a day for honoring fathers and father figures. Children and adults alike will have presented their dad with a card and gift. As with Mother's Day, the little ones will often have made something at school, while older children and adults will have bought their tokens of appreciation from a shop.

This is a day for family. Being Sunday, in a staunchly Catholic country, the whole extended family might well have met up for Mass at their local church. Afterwards, everyone congregates at the parental home, where a shared meal usually evolves into a small party. It is all for the patriarch of the home, who could expect a steady stream of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, lining up to tell him how great he is.

Día del Padre

In some areas, the celebrations spill out of the homes and into larger events. In Mexico City, the 31st annual Carrera del Día del Padre (Father's Day Race) was held in Bosque de Tlalpan (Tlalpan Forest). Organized by professional athletic associations, the 12,000 participants will have paid up to $400 entrance fee. But there are substantial cash prizes attached to a sliding scale of awards. The overall winner will net $50,000.

Categories include everything from athletic standard to veteran fun runs; though a popular one is the Father and Son Race. Birth certificates proving their relationship is required to sign up to that one. They hurtle out over 13 miles (21km), after the 7.30am starting whistle sounds, into a mostly forested route. However, some of the roads in the city will be closed as part of the race. Afterwards, there is a carnival atmosphere, as times are displayed for all (gathered from chips clipped to each runner) and the award ceremony takes place.

Día del Padre

For most fathers in Mexico, the day is less competitive and more family oriented. If it isn't the Mass, meal, party combo around the home, then it will be a day trip with everyone in tow. The whole family might descend upon a local attraction or beauty hotspot; or attend a sports venue as spectators only!

A (slightly belated) feliz Día del Padre to all the Mexican fathers (and other nationalities visiting) out there!

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