Fecha de publicación: 
16 June 2024
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Father, and its many colloquial variants such as papa, daddy, dad, old man, senior, and many more, is the topic we will talk about today.

To begin with, it has been difficult to search for the etymological origin of the word dad, which is how we commonly say to refer to our fathers, those male figures who biologically contribute to the conception of children, and who, in addition, are assumed as people of power, with authority and responsibility to protect and educate.

This is the first concept we have in mind, with which so many agree. It’s a term that has Latin roots through the word páter: head of the family. But he will also be the one who exercises that role without having engendered, as long as he fulfills the other functions of guiding and caring.

This is its current meaning.

As a word, dad is much more than a one-syllable word. Some studies indicate that, in principle, the word in Spanish it had not tilde, until its pronunciation was altered in the 18th century due to the influence of the Bourbon court where French was spoken. As we well know, this is a language with a marked acute tilde, so the accommodation to make it closer makes sense; and, evidently, little by little its use reached other regions.

Its origin is not very clear because there are many hypotheses. On the one hand, linguists mention that it began as infantile babbling, a baby's attempt to speak and try to call the father, but, as a beginner in speech, in the end, he could only articulate the first syllable, and repeat it, and that is how it remained, loving and funny way. It makes sense.

However, there’s an older theory that dates back to the Roman Empire, although related. They say that small children were given a kind of porridge that they probably called paparium - according to a citation found in the works of philosopher Seneca. Over time the term mutated to refer to the person in charge of providing sustenance, that is, food, until reaching the current concept of dad.

Likewise, many sources indicate that during that time the oldest and wisest people in a community or family group were called papus, and that the word that adapted to our language may also have been born there.

Theories are diverse indeed.

According to the region, the term dad is more extended towards the intimacy of one's own family, when we refer to him with affection; while father is usually of a more serious, formal use. For their part, the hypocoristic Daddy, old man, senior, and others, are usually used in more relaxed moments of closeness and trust.

The word father also has biblical meanings. We already know that religious people call God this way because he is considered the Supreme Father, it’s also what they call church leaders. Why? Because in the same way they are the people who exercise authority and have the duty to instruct, support and take care of their faithful.

This means that the word father was first born as a progenitor, and then it was adapted in this sense. However, other variants are also mentioned in the Bible. For example, one indicates that it may be an acronym and respond to the acronym from the Latin Petri Apostoli Potestatem Accipiens, about the succession of Peter, one of the original twelve apostles of Jesus and the first Pope. Another may be of possible Greek origin because it’s onomatopoeic with a familiar and affectionate meaning.

This explanation is valid, this text is for the first, our parents, in order to celebrate this day their existence in each of our lives. It doesn't matter if he had direct offspring, a good father plays a very important role in the development of children, his own or not. He generally commands respect and teaches from the most basic matters.

In Cuba we celebrate Father's Day every third Sunday in June, a day that becomes a family celebration, of gratitude for the love, effort and dedication in parenting. In other countries of the world with Catholic tradition it’s celebrated on March 19 for Saint Joseph's Day. For us it’s no coincidence that it’s on a Sunday, this day was chosen to coincide with the usual day of rest and thus ensure a relaxed atmosphere.

Historically, the father figure has been assumed as the pillar of the home, but until recently it was not well regarded for him to assume more dedicated roles in the care of children, due to that macho inheritance that indicated that he only played an active role in providing sustenance, and rest for women. Fortunately, steps have been taken in the world, minds are changing little by little.

Currently, in many countries, fathers have not only more participation, but also more rights to exercise their parenthood within society, always with responsibility and under the protection of the law.

The concept, with a social perspective, continues to evolve and the results are tangible. Even celebrating this day is one of them, since more than a century ago, entertaining and pampering it was considered weakness, a feminine and sentimental expression; it was saw as an attempt to domesticate. Exaggerated and absurd, but true.

Whatever the form of its writing and pronunciation, we want to think that father, dad, is more than the seed, he is that masculine person involved in the growth of his children, he is the one who not only makes sure to cover their basic needs, but also instructs them in values, principles and knowledge, in educating their emotions, protect them with affection, in short: prepare them for life, a task that does not end even if they turn a hundred years old.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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