Father’s Day: Watch This Space…

“I have discovered very little in life that I am adept at doing. I cannot fix your car, repair your roof, or even drive a nail straight. However, I have given everything I have to being a father, and I happily stand back to see the results.”

Jim Brozina: Alice Ozma, The Reading Promise 2011

Like virtually all celebrations in 2020 since around March, Father’s Day this year is going to be held largely behind doors. Not only in South Africa, of course, but worldwide. At Waterfront Charters we have been advocating the ‘looking ahead’ methodology of celebrations: don’t cancel – postpone. Our cruises may not be underway at present, but certainly will be again in the near future. To this end we recommend one of two approaches (either will do for the Dads of this world, we know – a lot of us are Dads and are qualified to comment): firstly, set a date in the near future when you think that Covid-19 restrictions will have been relaxed, and book ahead online. We are confident that it won’t be too long before we can loosen the mooring ropes, fire up the boilers, prime diesels or hoist sails and head out into Table Bay again. Then tell Dad that his day is planned, and to blank it out in his diary.
If you are not confident about guessing when that happy day will come around, here’s option two: the Waterfront Charters Gift Voucher. Perfect! You have a wide range of options available online; you can either choose a cruise for Dad and book that (not forgetting tickets for yourself and other grateful family members), or you can give Dad a money voucher allowing him to book his own choice of time, date, and cruise and hope that he includes you in his celebration. With both options you can add a personalised message too: let Dad know how much he means to you. (And that you’d like to accompany him on the cruise, of course.)

Father’s Day has been around is various guises for many centuries, but like Mother’s Day, it only really took off in its current format in the early 20th century. The earliest recognised celebration was held by the Orthodox Church, who appointed the second Sunday before Nativity as the Sunday of the Forefathers, starting with Adam and recognising the Patriarch Abraham. This feast fell between December the 11th and 17th each year. Then from the Middle Ages (around 1508, to be precise) the Catholic tradition of honouring fathers and paternal bonds was celebrated as St. Joseph’s Day on March the 19th. We are reasonably certain we don’t have to point out exactly why St. Joseph was chosen: he is officially referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini (“Nourisher of the Lord”). This celebration travelled across the seas with the Spanish and Portuguese seamen as they found their precarious ways across the oceans to colonise the Americas. In the 21st Century, Father’s Day is pretty much an international phenomenon, but each country has developed its own traditions and date, based on underlying faiths and other celebrations. A full list of activities and dates would turn this blog into a reference book, so we will look to…

…America (of course), for the basis of most of the Western cultural celebrations. It comes as no surprise to learn that ‘in recent years, retailers have adapted to the holiday by promoting greeting cards and gifts such as electronics and tools.’ Mother’s Day came first, as we have recorded earlier, and after Anna Jarvis’ successful promotion of Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia, the first observance of a day honouring fathers was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia. This was actually spawned by a tragedy: after the mining disaster at Monongah killed 361 men in December 1907, it was felt that some ongoing recognition should take place. This did not work out quite as planned, and it was only some years later in 1910, in Spokane County Washington, that a Father’s Day celebration was again held. Once again, it took several decades for the idea to fully take root, and finally in 1938 national recognition was promoted by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers, and we don’t really have to go into their underlying reasons. Fortunately not everyone on Planet Earth is commercially minded, and the idea of a Father’s Day (and that apostrophe is in the recognised correct position according to the U.S. Congress) to salute fathers in general took off and grew around the world into the celebration we know today.

So, we urge you to tip your hats to your fathers and grandfathers; let them know how much they mean to you. By all means get them a power tool or an electronic item, but we suggest that a cruise on the Atlantic will go down a treat. It’s difficult to share an electric drill; it’s a pleasure sharing an ocean cruise.