Why does Spain celebrate Father’s Day on 19 March?

by Lorraine Williamson
Father´s Day

Unlike the United Kingdom, where Father´s Day is celebrated on a fixed Sunday in June, in Spain it is variable, as the holiday coincides with the Día de San José. It is a day of long traditions in the Catholic Church and is usually a holiday in various Spanish regions. But this year, 19 March falls on a Saturday, which changes this. 

The Spanish working calendar for 2022 includes 12 paid/non-paid public holidays at national and regional levels and two local holidays. Father´s Day is registered in the official working calendar as an exchangeable holiday. This means that each autonomous community can decide whether to keep it as a public holiday. Or they may decide to exchange it for another holiday that is more traditional for them.   

Valencia region and Catalonia municipalities  

As San José falls on a Saturday this year, many regions have chosen to remove this holiday and replace it with another date on the calendar, which varies from region to region. Only the Valencian Community maintains Saturday 19 March as a paid and non-exchangeable public holiday, coinciding with the end of Las Fallas. 

In addition, there are municipalities in Spain that have decided to maintain March 19 as a local holiday this year. These are the Catalan towns of Conques, Lladrós, Mollerussa and Castellar del Vallès. 

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Honour to all fathers and families 

On ‘el día de San José’ (Father´s Day), the father of Jesus is remembered as an example of the work of fathers. Consequently, fathers are often put in the spotlight. March 19 is considered a tribute to the family, given San José’s image as a good father and protector. 

The feast, which is of Christian origin, has been celebrated in the West since the 12th century. Previously only martyrs and saints were honoured. It is also a tribute to all the people who are referred to by this name and to the craftsmen who work in the carpentry industry. 

Also read: Fiestas and Festivals in Spain 2022

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