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How to Say “Father” in Different Asian Languages – Father’s Day

Posted by Anne Q. on November 22, 2019.

June 19, 1910, marked the first Father’s Day celebration in the U.S. with the purpose of honoring fathers living throughout the city of Spokane, Washington. Father’s Day has been annually celebrated on the third Sunday of June in America ever since. Nowadays, over 111 countries in the world observe this celebration by holding parties, camping or simply giving cards and gifts to their fathers.

To celebrate Father’s Day this year, let’s learn some ways to say “Father” in different Asian languages.

1. Vietnam

In Vietnam, each region has its own ways to say “Father”.

– Northern Vietnam: Bố, Ba, Cha, Thầy, Cậu

– Central Vietnam:  Ba

– Southern Vietnam: Ba, Tía

Traditionally, fathers were at the top of the Vietnamese family hierarchy so children usually called them “Thầy” or “Cậu” to show the utmost respect. Nowadays, “Bố” and “Ba” are the two most common words for father using everywhere in Vietnam. These words are more endearing and friendlier, yet respectful.

It was not until the early 2010s that Vietnamese people started to celebrate Father’s Day. They throw small parties or give cards and gifts to their fathers on the third Sunday of June.


2. Japan

Oto-san (お父さん), Papa (パパ), Oyaji (親父), Oto-chan (おとちゃん), To-chan (とちゃん), To-san (父さん), Chichi (父)

In Japan, most people use “Oto-san” which is a formal and polite word to call their father. While “Chichi” is used to refer to one’s father when they talk to someone else, “Oyaji” (Old man) is an informal way for sons to call their fathers.

Japanese people observe Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June.

Father and Son


3. China

Baba (爸爸); Fuquin (父亲), Ye-cha (爷)

Attaching importance to tradition and family hierarchy, Chinese people prefer using “Fuquin” or “Ye-cha” – the most respectful forms to call their fathers.

In Mainland China, Father’s day was once celebrated on August 8 to honour fathers who died during World War II. Today, it is not considered as a national holiday, so just a minority of people in China celebrate Father’s Day.


4. Korean

Aboji (아버지), Appa (아빠), Abeoji (아버지)

Korean people don’t celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day separately. Instead, they observe Parents’ Day on May 8th.


5. The Philippines

Tatay, Itay, Tatang, Papa, Dadi, Dad

Due to the American influence and the proclamation of President Corazon Aquino in 1988, the Philippines celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June like most countries in the world.

Father's day


6. Thai

Ph̀x (พ่อ), Bidā (บิดา), P̌ā (ป๋า), Khuṇ ph̀x (คุณพ่อ)

The birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) (December 5) is set as Father’s Day in Thailand. In the past, Thai people gave their father or grandfather canna flowers (ดอกพุทธรักษา Dok Buddha Raksa) – the symbol of Nowadays, people don’t practice Father’s Day anymore.


7. Indonesia

Bapa, Ayah, Pak, Papa

In Indonesia, Father’s Day was first declared back in 2006. A group of hundreds of people gathered in Solo City Hall and celebrated this occasion together. Today, it is held on November 12 every year but does not attract many people’s involvement.


8. India

Baap (बाप), Pita (पिता)

In India, there is no such celebration day called Father’s Day. It is only celebrated in some big cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Kanpur, etc. by Westernized citizens. Children in these cities will buy cards, books, or coffee cards for their fathers.

Father's day


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