Fun facts

A brand of lighters at the origin of the French Father’s Day

Father’s Day, a celebration that goes back to the Middle Ages

Sunday, June 17, 2012, French children will celebrate Fête des Pères  – Father’s Day and will offer paper neckties and bowties, pencil holders and frames made with love with the re-used cardboard of their cereal boxes or will simply spend a large amount of their pocket money in the many gift shops that offer already made and expensive gifts.

Father’s Day is not a recent invention as it was already celebrated during the Middle Ages in many Catholic countries including France. But it was celebrated on March 19, the day of Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.

Father’s Day re-invented by a brand of lighters

This religious festival was lost over the generations to re-emerge in the 20th century.
Unlike Mother’s Day, which was established to celebrate women of course but also to encourage them to repopulate France after the two world wars, the Fête des Pères was re-invented for purely commercial reasons by a Breton brand of lighters!
Yes, I said a Breton brand of lighters called Flaminaire!

Father's Day gift - paper tie

Father's Day gift - paper tie

Flaminaire commercialised the first conventional lighters in 1908. The lighter, first a luxury object, never ceased to evolve and its use became widespread during the First World War.

At the end of the Second World War consumer society was booming and people discovered the concept of gifts, a move that quickly became a social obligation. As in those times most men smoked, offering a lighter to their Dads for Father’s Day became a standard practice for children. Luminaire invested into a large scale advertising campaign, thus creating the habit of offering a lighter to men.

Father’s Day was instituted in 1952, two years after Mother’s Day became an official celebration, but has never been formalized, even if it is celebrated each year on the third Sunday of June!

In addition to the various gifts, it is also a tradition to offer roses, the symbol flower of Father’s Day but there is a code to follow. Red roses are offered to a father who is alive, and white roses are placed on the grave of a deceased Dad.

Many detractors see in Father’s Day, which is an unofficial celebration, the expression of abusive and tacky marketing and they could be right but Father’s Day celebration is an integral part of our culture and traditions and is primarily an opportunity to show our love and affection to our Dads.

Wishing a Happy Father’s Day to all the French Dads and the others.


Read more

French Mother’s Day – Fête des Mères

April Frost and Three Saints known as Lune Rousse and Saints de Glace in France

May 1st, Labor Day and May Day in France

June 15, 2012 2 comments

5 interesting facts about the UK

Continuing our series of fun facts from different countries, today we’re looking at the UK.

Fish and chips (credit Ines Saraiva on Flickr)

1. Many of us Brits use the terms ‘Great Britain’ and ‘United Kingdom’ interchangeably, but we are wrong to do so. Great Britain consists of three countries – England, Scotland and Wales, whereas the full definition of the UK is ‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. So the UK includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The rest of Ireland is a separate country.

So when we talk about ‘Britain’ or ‘Great Britain’ we are including Scotland and Wales. Many English don’t mind whether they are referred to as British or English, but people from other parts of Britain feel differently. For example, Scottish people tend to consider themselves Scottish and not British. (Of course I cannot speak for the whole of Britain so please feel free to disagree in the comments!)


February 24, 2012 9 comments

5 interesting facts about Australia

1.  Australia is now the most obese country in the world, just pipping the US at the post with a 26% obesity rate to their 25%. Despite Australia being a sport loving nation there’s obviously a whole lot of armchair sport loving going on, with beer, soft drink or greasy takeaway in hand!


February 3, 2012 18 comments

5 interesting Facts about Malaysia

Curious to know more about Malaysia? Check out these 5 interesting facts about Malaysia, and you may feel amazed about it!

1. Malaysia Truly Asia!: Malaysia is populated with various ethnic groups:  about 55% of Malay, 25% of Chinese, 10% of Indian and others

More Information


January 18, 2012 5 comments

5 interesting things about Canada

1. The country was founded, in a large part, by a single company. The Hudson’s Bay Company started in 1670 as a fur trading business. It sent explorers and trappers across the land and settlers followed. They are responsible for starting settlements and ports, discovering water ways, and starting relations with the First Nations groups. The company still exists today as a retail store.


2. Our name “Canada” was established through miscommunication. “Kanada” was an aboriginal word for “village”. The Europeans mistook it to mean the entire nation.


3. Hockey is only one of our National Sports and was not until 1994. Popular opinion once named Lacrosse the national sport, in 1864, but nowadays, even Canadians need to be reminded of it.  Lacrosse is played on a field. Players each have a stick with a net on one end to catch and throw the ball.


4. Canada is still part of the British Commonwealth. Our Queen is the Queen of England. The position is a figurehead. While our laws and bills are passed in Parliament, everything must then be signed by the Queen’s appointed Governor General.


5. During the War of 1812 with our neighbours to the south, Canadian troops burned down the White House. Sorry!


Read more

The Remembrance Poppy

5 interesting facts about Kyrgyzstan

5 interesting facts about Costa Rica

November 16, 2011 Comments disabled

5 interesting facts about Kyrgyzstan

Here are a few facts about the Central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

1) There are over 88 major mountain ranges in Kyrgyzstan, making up about more than 70 percent of the country’s territory.

Kyrgyzstan mountains


November 4, 2011 Comments disabled