An Indonesian father with child

An Indonesian father with child

Would you believe me if I tell you I have NEVER heard of Father’s Day until I moved to America in 2005.

Yes, true story!

Here in Indonesia we just simply don’t have Father’s Day.

We do have Mother’s Day on December 22, 2014. The holiday is celebrated on the anniversary of the opening day of the first Indonesian Women Congress, which was held from 22 to 25 December 1928. The Congress was attended by 30 feminist organizations from 12 cities in Java and Sumatra. In Indonesia, feminist organizations have existed since 1912, inspired by Indonesian heroines of the 19th century, e.g., KartiniMartha Christina TiahahuCut Nyak MeutiaMaria Walanda MaramisDewi SartikaNyai Ahmad DahlanRasuna Said, etc. The Congress intended to improve women’s rights in education and marriage.

We also have Kartini Day on 21 April to celebrate the emancipation of women spearheaded by an activist, Raden Ajeng Kartini.

So why do we have no Father’s Day then?

Could it be because we as a country are already too patriarchy?

I actually wonder about that too. So like a good citizen, I turned to Google and did a little research.

What do you know, actually we do have one and it’s called “Hari Ayah” in Indonesian which means Father’s Day. It was declared in 2006 it falls on 12 November. That explains why very few people are aware of this and it’s not popular. Maybe because we don’t commercialize it as much as mother’s day? I have never seen an advertisement for local Father’s Day.

Technically, men still perceived to have higher place than women in Indonesia. Like it or not, that’s the truth.  We are still plagued by social injustices caused by a male-dominated society that abandons women to the whims of their husbands. So maybe that’s why it is more ‘common’ to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Being from a whole intact family unit of a father and a mother doesn’t guarantee that the father is always hands-on, and I think this happens in many different countries, too. I have personally seen mentally checked out fathers who leave all the responsibilities of raising children solely to their wives by justifying they are too busy making a living for the family. Many men still believe their fatherhood role is simply to provide for the family and that’s it. I feel for women who literally are acting as single parents in a married-life.

Being a mother myself, I can truly appreciate a man who helps out his wife. I celebrate hands-on fathers, like my own father. My father is a strong dominant male figure to me and many people will be surprised by how hands-on he has been. I can still recall him changing my brothers’ diapers, doing the dishes (something he still does to this very day!) and other domestic chores without complaining, going to the market for my mother and many more. He was even actively involved in our schools’ boards. He works hard, yet, he was and is always there.

And now seeing my own younger brother being very hands-on in caring, raising his first daughter truly warms my heart. My sister-in-laws’ friends pointed out that their own husbands do not even want to change diapers, but my brother changes diapers and more.

This made me realize how lucky we are to have our father as a big role model who set great living standards of what a great father is like.

So although Father’s Day is not hugely popular here, I salute all men who break the stereotype of fatherhood in my country. Hats off to you!

When do you celebrate Father’s Day in your country?  How do you celebrate Father’s Day?

This is an original post by our World Mom,  Maureen of “Scoops of Joy” in Indonesia for World Moms Blog.

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Founder of Single Moms Indonesia, community leader and builder. Deeply passionate about women empowerment.

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