Father's Day falls on the third Sunday of June every year. It honors all fathers for their contribution to their family and society. There are various ways to show gratitude, respect and love to a father. The Westerners will hug their father and say "I love you, dad", while most Chinese are too shy to say that directly. So how do Chinese usually show love toward their father, if not the sentimental phrases?
The Chinese parents usually expect respect and care from their children, which is part of filial piety. Therefore, it's perhaps the most "Chinese" way to love their parents by obeying them and showing care for their parents' needs.
Here are some phrases the Chinese might use to show love on Father's Day:
1. bà, wǒ qǐng nǐ chī fàn
Hey dad, let's go out for a meal— it's on me!
This is probably the most popular Father's Day gift in China: having a special meal. Chinese culture is definitely a food-centric culture. Food represents gathering, unity, connection, care and love in China.
Apart from food, a Chinese father commonly receives gifts 红包 (hóng bāo, a red envelop with money inside), expensive wines, expensive teas, expensive cigarettes or cigars, or luxury items.
2. bà, wǒ jìng nǐ yì bēi
Dad, allow me to toast you.
Toasting is another common way to honor or thank someone, especially someone older or of higher rank. When eating with their fathers on Father's Day, the children will toast them. During the toast, it's an opportunity to say nice things, usually good wishes such as "I wish you great health" and "I wish you a long life". These are both common Chinese blessings, which reflect what Chinese value — health and longevity.
3. bà, nǐ xīn kǔ la
Dad, thank you for all that you've done for me.
This is equivalent of "I love you" for Chinese people. Instead of talking about feelings, Chinese are more likely to recognize others' hard work and sacrifice. They thank or show love to people by pointing out perseverance and effort. So saying "爸，你辛苦啦 " is very thoughtful. It will make a Chinese dad feel that his children appreciate and value his effort and sacrifice.
对中国人而言，这句话就相当于"我爱你"。中国人不直接表达情感，而更倾向于认同对方的辛勤工作和牺牲。他们通过肯定对方的坚持和努力来表达感谢或爱意。所以，"爸，你辛苦啦 " 是非常体贴的一句话，会让一个中国父亲觉得孩子尊重且珍惜他的努力和付出。
4. bà, wǒ bāng nǐ àn mó
Dad, may I give you a shoulder massage?
Another very "Chinese" thing to do on this day is to give a Chinese father a massage. Grandparents especially love this. But as Chinese generally tend not to be verbally sentimental, they may just say "here, let me help you" instead. Or when their dad or grandfather is sitting in a chair, they come up and gently hammer their fathers' shoulders, back or knees.
These are a handful of awesome Chinese phrases to appreciate and honor fathers on Father's Day! With all these meaningful words, plus your voluntary love and care, any father will be deeply touched.
The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source for any use, reproduction or transfer.