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Number of posts : 1
Registration date : 2010-10-19


The Odd Fellows is one of the oldest and largest non-political, non-sectarian fraternal and service organization in the world. Because it existed very long ago "mystery of long-past ages enshrouds the origin of Odd Fellowship” and that the exact date of its first founding is "lost in the mists of antiquity'. Members in the United Kingdom trace its roots back to the Medieval Trade Guilds of the 12th and 13th centuries. Some believe that there are records that will show that Odd Fellows existed before year 1650.

Members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Sweden during their Grand Lodge sessions in 2009.

There are many theories about how it first started and got its name but the generally accepted belief is that it emerged in England when a group of working class men who fell outside the established system of trade guilds banded together to form their own labor union. At the time of industrialization in England, ‘Fellows’ from numerous ‘Odd’ trades gathered together and formed a fraternity to protect and care for their members and communities at a time when there was no welfare state, trade unions and National Health Insurance. They would work together to help each other and the unfortunate families back on their feet, aiding each other in times of sickness and distress, whether it was rebuilding a barn that had burned, or putting in a new crop after a devastating season. Such helpers came to be known as “Odd fellows,” so named by the general population who also thought they were “an odd bunch of fellows” who would behave in such a selfless and seemingly impractical fashion. This group then adopted the name.

By year 1700s, there were numerous Odd Fellow organizations in England. In 1810, a number of lodges in the Manchester area organized an “Independent Order of Odd Fellows” with the title “Manchester Unity”. With their improved system, they were able to persuade other Odd Fellow organizations to join their Unity. They also chartered the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in America founded on April 26, 1819 by Thomas Wildey and four other members of the fraternity from England. The American Odd Fellows then established many branches around the world.

On September 20, 1851, it became the first fraternal organization to accept women when it adopted the Rebekah Degree. It was also the first fraternal organization to establish homes for the elderly and for orphaned children. Many lodges also built and managed cemeteries for a descent burial for the deceased.

The American Odd Fellows was also the first to reunite the North and South after the American Civil War. In 1865, Odd Fellows in America gave an account of the laying of the cornerstone of the Wildey Monument just before the war ended. This event was really the "First Fraternization of the Blue and Gray". Men who had been engaged in the conflict, on both sides, marched side by side as brothers, wearing the regalia of the brotherhood.

During the ‘Golden Age of fraternalism’, the Odd Fellows was the largest fraternal organization in the world. The world Almanac showed that it had over 3.4 Million members in 1915. Although non-political and non-sectarian and contrary to the belief that it is just a working man’s organization, it also claimed many notable members which included about six U.S. Presidents such as Franklin Roosevelt and Warren Harding, as well as many Senators, Governors and community leaders. King George IV, Sir Winston Churchill, Chief Justice Earl Warren and William Jennings Bryan were also identified as members. Lucy Hobbs Taylor, the first female American dentist was also a member of the organization.

The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs also played a very important part in establishing the State of California, Texas and many other states. Law and Order was established by the organization in many localities. Historically, Odd Fellows lodge halls also played a part as sort-of a 'community center' where people would gather and conduct community activities.In many cities, Odd Fellow Lodges were the first organizations of any type and a large number of their lodges have completed their first 100 years of service.

Odd Fellows Meeting Hall in Denmark.

Odd Fellows Garden in Oslo, Norway.

It continues to exist up until today with about 10,000 lodges in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela and hoping to continue spreading throughout the world.

As an organization, they are dedicated to improving and elevating the character of mankind by imparting the principles of friendship, love and truth and making the world a better place to live by aiding the community, the less fortunate, the youth and the elderly in every way possible.

Locally, nationally and internationally, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are involved in various charitable causes and humanitarian endeavors. They spend over $775 million in relief projects annually. Their Educational Foundation gives scholarships and low-interest student loans every year since 1927. They are also regular donors to Arthritis Foundation, Visual Eye Research Foundation, American Heart Association and several other foundations. Their Living Legacy program also planted more than 8 Million trees worldwide. Their United Nations Pilgrimage of the Youth sponsors High School students on a one-week trip to the United Nations since 1949. The organization also manages more than 80 homes for the elderly and orphans and several recreation camps and parks available for the whole family. They also sponsored the S.O.S. Children’s Village in Cambodia and El Salvador which houses orphans and aids victims there. They also sponsor a float in the Rose Parade in California every year. They are also the only fraternal organization permitted to conduct a Pilgrimage to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and given the honor of bestowing a Grand Decoration of Chivalry Award upon an Unknown Soldier.


In the Philippines, its history is quite interesting but more research needs to be done. The Brotherhood first reached the country before we gained independence and many uncertain circumstances occurred along the course of time, many records were destroyed and only a few remain where we can get information. According to the book, History and Geography of the Philippine Islands, the awakening of Filipinos to a deep sense of injustice being practiced upon us by the Spaniards was the introduction of fraternal societies in the Islands. It was mentioned that the Society of Odd Fellows spread in the Philippines in 1872 during the Spanish-American war. Many military men who helped fought the war were members of the brotherhood. In fact, the Idaho Regiment presented to the Odd Fellows in San Francisco a gavel made of wood from a Spanish garrote and a silver badge of the Odd Fellows Association of Manila upon their return. In 1903, an official chapter of the Odd Fellows was instituted in the City of Manila. However, the existence of the said chapter was shattered during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines in 1941. When the war ended in 1944, the City of Manila was left in ruins and the Odd Fellows ceased to operate in the country and was never heard again. On August 2009, 26 Dumagueteňos who are against fraternity hazing and elitism felt the need to renew the real purposes of fraternalism and decided to revive the organization in the country. Their vision was to focus on non-violence and the welfare of the people and community. This was made possible when international officers of the I.O.O.F from the United States officially revived the organization in the country by instituting a chapter in Dumaguete City on November 21, 2009. Months after, they also opened a new chapter in Cagayan de Oro City.

Recently, the Odd Fellows in Dumaguete are looking for more service-oriented individuals whose interest are building a genuine brotherhood and sisterhood with their fellowmen and be of service to their communities. There is no hazing, no subordination, no sacrifice of opinions and beliefs, no change of relations to the Country and no loosening of obligations required to be a member. It accepts men and women, professionals and college students, regardless of skin color, nationality, gender, social status and religion. Minimum age to join the organization is 18 years old. For more information email or contact 09064772129.

Terry Barret, Sovereign Grand Secretary of the Sovereign Grand Lodge the Independent Order of Odd Fellows welcomed by local members of the Odd Fellows at Dumaguete City Airport on November 20, 2009.

According to Rex P. Olpoc, a Registered Nurse and member, “Odd Fellowship is a way of living life wherein you care for the welfare of your fellowmen, community, country and the world”. “This organization is relevant in our country. Its motto, ‘friendship, love and truth’, aims to improve and elevate the character of mankind by promoting fraternal friendship, genuine charitable love and the pursuit of truth in all our dealings. It aims to make the world a better place to live by aiding the community, the less fortunate and the youth in every way possible without seeking for publicity or praise” said Kahlil B. Reyes, a fourth your Electrical Engineering student in Silliman University and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The Odd Fellows provided food, donated used clothing and conducted free Blood Pressure Taking during one of their outreach programs last July 2010 in Dumaguete City Cathedral.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows welcomes men and women not because they are rich or poor, not because they are educated or uneducated, but because they are upright, honest, industrious, temperate, thoughtful, considerate people. It welcomes men and women regardless of social status, race, skin color, nationality or religion. Membership in the Odd Fellows encourages members to care for their fellowmen and get involved with their community. In the Philippines, members are involving themselves in various volunteer works and charitable causes which benefit the orphans, the youth, the elderly and the environment. It seeks to develop leadership and team-work. And because the Odd Fellows is also a worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood , membership gives an assurance of a warm welcome and assistance by other Odd Fellows if they travel in distant lands.

On November 19-21, 2010, officers of the Sovereign Grand Lodge in the U.S. will visit Dumaguete and Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines to bring the charters for the two existing chapters (lodges). The organization is hopeful that some of you can be a part of remaking its history in the Philippines and be a part of something honorable and worthwhile.

No hazing, no subordination, no sacrifice of your opinions and beliefs, no change of relations to the Country, no loosening of the obligations which, as a good citizen, you owe to the laws and institutions under which you live, is required to be a member of the Odd Fellows.


Videos about the organization on youtube:
1. History According to Odd Fellows in United Kingdom

2. History of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

3. What really is the Odd Fellows about? Part 2

4. What really is the Odd Fellows about? Part 1

5. Inside the Odd Fellows

6. Some of the Projects of the Organization

7. Visiting the Past

Sovereign Grand Lodge:

Independent Order of Oddfellows - Manchester Unity:

Link to International Websites:

Odd Fellows European Portal of Websites:
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