March 27 is National “Joe” Day! Since the list of obscure and ridiculous holidays keeps growing (seriously – yesterday was “Make Up Your Own Holiday Day“), why not add another silly day to the mix to celebrate anyone or anything with the name Joe?
The origins of this weird holiday are unknown, but we’re going to take a wild guess and say that someone named Joe probably invented it. The name “Joe” likely came from the Scottish word jo or joe, which means “sweetheart.” Since then, Joe has also come to mean a regular guy or everyday average man. The first documented usage of the name Joe was in 1846, and Joseph was a popular name for babies in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Use of the word “joe” in common phrases is thought to have started in the 1930s. In 1935, “G.I.” was used to denote “Government Issue,” and soon became a common term used to refer to lower ranking soldiers. “G.I. Joe” first appeared in Private Breger comic strips and was then used to describe the average soldier. The character soon became popular and was used in a cartoon series and then later took on action figure form. Joe can also refer to a cup of coffee i.e. “cup of joe.” Customers began using this phrase in the 1940s when ordering coffee. It’s likely that “joe” is a derivative of java or jamoke, which are other terms used to describe coffee.
Over the years there have been several other well-known Joes in popular culture, but probably one of the most beloved is Snoopy the dog’s alter ego “Joe Cool.” When Snoopy would slip on a pair of sunglasses and walk on two legs, he was suddenly transformed into “Joe Cool.” There was even a song recorded for the Peanuts character called “Joe Cool” by B.B. King.
Whether you do something special for your friend named Joe, rename yourself Joe for the day, enjoy a nice hot cup of joe, buy a G.I. Joe, or watch your favorite Peanuts shows or movies featuring Snoopy as Joe Cool, there are plenty of ways to celebrate today. Happy National “Joe” Day!