Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

Societal expectations can often burden individuals with expectations and goals that don't quite align with their own. As such, over the years various commemorative days and occasions have sprung up. One of these is International Men’s Day, celebrated on November 19.

To explain briefly, this is an occasion to appreciate men and boys for their achievements and contributions in various ways and to de-stigmatise issues such as men's mental heath. While many have, over the years, used this occasion as a way of scoring brownie points against other movements, or as a rallying cry for injustices against men - in essence, International Men's Day is an occasion aimed at promoting humanitarian values. The day also has themes to mark each year. This year the theme is “Better health for men and boys.”

Why is it celebrated on November 19?

Men's day was not always celebrated in mid-November. While the day itself was first marked in 1992, this was on the 7th of February. Thomas Oaster who had conceived of the project around an year earlier, inaugurated the first year of Men's Day celebrations. However, it wouldn't become an international phenomenon immediately.

Varied attempts to start the initiate were met with a lukewarm response, and it was only on 1999 that Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh re-initialised the day in Trinidad and Tobago. This was on November 19. This was also the time that the idea began gaining international prominence. The longest running celebration of International Men's Day is in Malta, where the occasion as been marked 7 February 1994. Later, as Men's Day became a globally accepted occasion, the country eventually shifted the date.

In India the occasion began with the Indian Men's rights organization Indian Family arranging an event on 19 November 2007. Over the years, the Caribbean initiative to celebrate men, has reached a large number of other countries in different parts of the globe as interest in the event increases rapidly.

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