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To this day, beyond recreational activities, Odd Fellows promote philanthropy, the ethic of reciprocity and charity, albeit with some grand lodges implying Judeo-Christian affiliation.

Still largest, the American-seated Independent Order of Odd Fellows enrolls some 600,000 members divided in approximately 10,000 lodges in 30 countries, Several theories aim to explain the etymological background of the name "Odd Fellows", often spelled "Oddfellows" in British English.

Due to increased trade during the Middle Ages, guilds came to make up a part of the urban culture, grouping people from a number of trades banded together.

Hence, people of an odd assortment of trades speculatively brought the background of the early history of Odd Fellows.

Dubious traditions, tracing the fraternity's origins even back to Roman Emperors Nero in A. During the 14th century, with the growth of trade, the guild "Masters" moved to protect their power (and wealth) by restricting access to the guilds.