Father’s Day Across The World!

Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

Father’s Day has been around since the Middle Ages, when it was celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19th) in Catholic Europe. Over the years, many countries have adopted this tradition. Most countries like those in Europe and America celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, while a few like Spain, Portugal, and Latin American countries continue to celebrate it on March 19th. Let’s have a look at the varying traditions spread across the world concerning this significant occasion.

A special Father’s Day outing in Germany, the males dragging along the hand-driven carts filled with alcoholic beverages and traditional food. || Photo by Frank May(dpa), Web, 29 June 2017, source: dw.com

Father’s Day (Vatertag) in Germany is celebrated in a distinct manner, quite different from the rest of the world. It is observed on Ascension Day (the Thursday 40 days after Easter); it’s a federal holiday. It is also referred to as, Men’s Day or Gentlemen’s Day(Männertag and Herrentag). The traditional approach involves a male group embarking on a hiking tour, manually dragging one or more small wagons(Bollerwagen). The wagons are filled with alcoholic beverages and other traditional food. The opportunity is often used by men to get drunk.

Hugh Jackman, Australian actor, took to the social media to wish his father on Father’s Day. || source: Instagram

Father’s Day in Australia is celebrated on the first Sunday of September. The reason behind the September placement pertains to the retail and marketing sector. April to June is stacked with a number of holidays, as is December and January. Owing to this ‘holiday fatigue’, September proves to be the most convenient option and it also coincides with the beginning of Spring. The coming of Spring also seems to decide the various gifts related to the season, like camping, fishing, and sports equipment. Families come together for a meal and a day out to show their appreciation for fathers.

Children show their drawings for Father’s Day. || Web, 29 June 2017, absolutechinatours.com

In China, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, like most countries. However, it is not widely observed among the Chinese, though some expatriates may celebrate it. Before the People’s Republic, during the reign of the Republic of China(1912-1949), Father’s Day was observed on August 8th. Eight (8) in the regional language is ba(八); thus, August being the 8th month, the date would be spoken as ba ba, which colloquially sounds similar to the regional term for father(ba-ba, 爸爸). It is still recognised on this date in areas under the control of the Republic of China, such as Taiwan.

Old advertisement for Flaminaire lighters. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: hprints.com

France has an amusing history with its modern-day commemoration of Father’s Day. In 1946, a gas-lighter company, Flaminaire, was founded in Brittany by Marcel Quercia. Owing to the low sales, Quercia began advertising its lighters under the banner of Father’s Day in 1949 on the third Sunday of June, just like the American celebration. The slogans for the campaign read…

Nos papas nous l’ont dit, pour la fête des pères, ils désirent tous un Flaminaire‘(Our fathers told us, for father’s day, they all want is a Flaminaire).

It gained traction and in three years Father’s Day was officially decreed into existence on the same date. Families gather together for the whole day to acknowledge the importance of the father-figure in the family. It is usually a quiet event.

People gather in large numbers to perform traditional rites for Gokarna Aunsi. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: welcomenepal.com

Father’s Day tradition in Nepal has a religious significance in its majority population of Hindus. It is celebrated according to the lunar calendar and thus usually falls in late August or early September. The occasion is known as Gokarna Aunsi, where gokarna and aunsi literally mean ‘cow-eared’ and ‘no moon night’ in Nepali. Hindus worship the cow-eared incarnations of Lord Shiv,  and pay respects to their fathers. It is also called Buwaako mukh herne din which means ‘day for looking at father’s face’; this is because of the tradition where sons touch their father’s feet with their forehead before in his eyes, while daughters simply touch their father’s hand before doing the same. Fathers are also presented with gifts by their children. Many go to the famous Shiv Temple near Kathmandu where they bathe and perform rites on the day following the new moon. People whose fathers have passed away, too, visit to carry out Yearly Death Rituals.

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A son makes Pinda, a traditional Nepali dish, on the occasion of Father’s Day. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: wikipedia.org


Ratchadamnoen Road decorated in honour of Father’s Day, celebrated on the king’s birthday. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: bangkokhasyou.com

Thailand’s Father’s Day is honoured on the birthday of the king, the last event being held on December 5th, the birthday of the late king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Though not widely practiced today, tradition had the people presenting fathers with the Canna Flower, which is considered to be a masculine flower. The whole country is decorated lavishly and the skies are brought alive with extravagant fireworks; it is a National holiday, unlike most other countries of the world. As the late king’s birthday fell on a Monday; people wore yellow as it was the colour of that particular weekday. The late king used to give his trademark birthday speeches addressing his subjects. People gather at main avenues in their respective areas to pay respects to the king.

The royal family of Thailand, addressing the nation. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: learnthaiwithmod.com

It is now well-established that Father’s Day all over the world, though differing in some key concepts, is a significant occasion: it celebrates the same core value of honouring the father-figures that play a pivotal role in any institution.

Truth Behind 5 Second Rule

Sourav “Teddy” Biswas

When the food we falls on the floor, reflexively, we think to pick it up. Only after picking it up do we introspect the consequences of our action: That wasn’t really on the floor that long, was it? How bad it can be after all? If the process of retrieval is fast, we assume the food is good. Most folks are comfortable eating food after it’s been on the floor. Thanks to the famous “5 Second Rule”, we are confident munching on  food off the floor as long as it gets retrieved within 5 seconds. This rule is now socially accepted everywhere, but recent studies conclude some shocking results.

Photographer: Harkin, Brian. Title: Food dropped on the floor can be contaminated with bacteria instantly, regardless of how fast you pick it up, a study recently concluded. Website: http://www.nytimes.com. Dated: 19 Oct 2016

In 2007, researchers from Clemson University decided to see how well Salmonella Typhimurium (one of the two major types of salmonella that causes food poisoning), could adhere to bologna and bread after it came in contact with carpet, wood, and tile floors. The results showed that bacteria transferred immediately, and the longer the food stayed on the floor, the more bacteria it picked up. This both proves and disproves the idea of the rule: It shows that even a near-immediate grab doesn’t make the food safe, but it is true that the longer it lays there, the worse things get. Subsequent studies were made in following years by various Universities and all tests conclude the same result.

The real question here is; will eating that food off the floor make us sick or not? We all know bacteria is everywhere; even on the food we eat. Once again, these studies only proves and disproves the rule and not answer questions related to our health. The answer to this particular question depends on some variables.

Photographer: Williams, Greg. Title: Cartoon illustrating the 5 Second Rule. Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/. Dated: 28 Oct 2016

The first variable is, what kind of floor we are talking about. Some floors retain more bacteria than others.  Outside our homes, it’s pretty obvious we’re exposed to countless forms of bacteria capable of causing immediate illness. Some studies suggests that objects like cell-phones and cash, carry more germs than a floor, which is transferred via our hands. This concludes the second parameter. Even before hitting the floor, our food might get contaminated due to our poor personal hygiene.

It’s impossible to fully rely on these studies because their experiments were conducted in a controlled environment. None of these proves for certain that the particular floor we’ve dropped our food on is germ free or not. In reality, bacteria can get transferred immediately to the food but, eating it after quick rescue doesn’t actually make us sick most of the time. So we keep doing it.




Great Indian Cuisines: Patthar ka Gosht

Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

An Indian feast. || Drishti.co, Web, Nov 25 2016, India

India is known for a lot of things, not least, its sumptuous dishes. The land of the Himalayas has no dearth of culture, with 150 languages having a sizable speaking population (the total number of languages is placed at a staggering 1652). With a tradition spanning centuries, it’s not surprising to find that India’s cuisine is as diverse as its population. One can never say; “I’m gonna have some Indian cuisine tonight,” and be satisfied with one, for India boasts of  several; Mughlai, South Indian(which has a cuisine for each of its four states) and Awadhi, among many others. What’s special is that each of India’s 29 states has its own cuisine to boast of; some of them having more than one!

S.U.M  brings to you the first dish in its feature of Unique Indian Cuisine.
Pathar ka Gosht Recipe

Presenting Patthar ka Gosht! In Urdu, patthar means ‘stone’ and gosht means ‘meat’. The phrase, therefore, roughly translates to ‘meat cooked on stone’ in English.

Patthar ka Gosht served with Indian bread || by Shaharbano – own work, cc by -SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org

Yes, you read it right. This particular dish dates back to 19th century India in the Deccan region (present-day Hyderabad), ruled by the Nizams, the then rulers of Hyderabad State. Legend has it that this dish came to pass on a hunting expedition of the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad, Mahbub Ali Khan. The 18-year-old Nizam used to have his dining and bedding carried on elephants for all-time convenience. Talk about royalty! For the Nizam’s comfort, the royal chef found a slab of stone for special cooking purposes and cooked kebabs on it for the Nizam. The Nizam loved it so much that he ordered it to be cooked again on his return. And thus the peculiar dish of Patthar ka Gosht came into being.

Though this claim is unconfirmed by reliable sources, it has the same royal sound to it as other majestic whims of the Nizams. The dish is a roaring success in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when, in the evening after breaking the fast Muslims generally go into the streets to have a light feast.

Patthar ka Gosht being cooked at a roadside stall. || Photo by Ashwin Quadros, Flickr.com, Web, Nov 25 2016, India

Coming to its conception, PkG is prepared by first marinating the meat (beef and mutton are the preferred kinds) in various pastes and spices for around 5 hours.  Meanwhile, the stone used for cooking (granite in most cases), is heated by kindling charcoal underneath it for approximately 30 minutes until it’s hot. The right temperature of the stone is determined by sprinkling water on it: if the droplets sizzle on the slab, it’s ready for cooking. The meat is then placed on the stone slab and allowed to fry in the open. The fat and marinated paste from the meat sizzles on the stone and gradually evaporates. The meat is turned to the other side and vice versa till both sides are brown and crispy. The meat is then taken down and served with one or two Indian breads; Naan or Roti. The meat, thus slow-cooked, acquires a silky-smooth texture that simply melts in the mouth.

But times have changed. Today’s fast-paced life is making it difficult for old-school recipes to flourish because of their time-consuming nature. Restaurants are reluctant to allow such dishes in their original state, opting instead for stoves to light the stones. Their contention is that they would be feeding only 10-15 people a day if they chose charcoal over gas. Of course, old-timers rue this nimble change but the others… well, the others still swear by its unvarying novel taste.