Also known as
National Hobbit Day
annually on September 22nd (since 1978)
American Tolkien Society in 1978
Hobbit Day celebrates hobbits and takes place on the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Hobbit Day also happens to take place a day after the anniversary of the 1937 publication of The Hobbit. The holiday was declared by the American Tolkien Society and first observed in 1978, although fans had celebrated the day before this official declaration.
Bilbo was born in 2890 in the Third Age, while Frodo was born in 2968. These are the years 1290 and 1368 in the Shire calendar. There is some debate about when Hobbit Day should be celebrated because according to Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings, the Gregorian calendar doesn't align with the Shire calendar, meaning the birthdays should be sometime between September 12 and 14. Nonetheless, September 22 is observed as Hobbit Day.
The Long Awaited Party or Long Expected Party, a celebration of Bilbo Baggins' birthday, is detailed at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of The Lord of the Rings. Fireworks, dancing, and food are a part of the Long Awaited Party, and some people celebrate Hobbit Day in the same fashion. Feasts and games are held. People dress up like hobbits and go barefoot like hobbits usually do. Displays are put up and events are held at libraries and schools. The books are read and the films are watched.
Hobbits are small, humanlike creatures, about half the height of humans, between 2 and 4 feet, but most often about 3 feet 6 inches. They don't wear shoes, have somewhat curly hair, and have a life expectancy of 100 years. They value simplicity, peace, and comfortable homes, which are set underground and usually built into hills. While generally shy, they can be resourceful and courageous when the moment demands it. Hobbiton is the village Bilbo Baggins lives in. It is located in the Shire, a large rural region in the northwest part of Middle-earth that is the homeland of the hobbits.
The Hobbit was Tolkien's first published book, and served as a prologue to The Lord of the Rings. Set in Middle-earth during the Third Age, it follows Bilbo Baggins as he leaves Hobbiton for the first time, at the urging of the wizard Gandolf, and goes along with Thorin and his 12 dwarfs to recover stolen treasure from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo finds a ring that makes the wearer invisible. He matures during the story, gaining inner strength and working for the greater good. He and other hobbits are celebrated today with Hobbit Day!
How to Observe Hobbit Day
Some ideas on how to celebrate Hobbit Day include:
- Dress up like a hobbit. You could even host a costume event.
- Go barefoot as hobbits do.
- Host a Long Awaited Party.
- Have a feast and prepare and eat some traditional English foods or foods mentioned in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Some cuisine choices could be:
- cold meats
- mince pies
- pork pies
- fish and chips
- blackberries and foods made with them, especially blackberry tarts
- freshly baked bread with butter
- foods made with vegetables like corn, turnips, carrots, potatoes, and onions
- foods made with apples
- coffee and tea
- birthday cake
- Shoot off some fireworks.
- Listen to, play, and dance to songs.
- Play games, especially common English games. Some games that could be played are:
- pin-the-tail on the donkey
- horseshoe or beanbag toss
- sack jumping races
- egg and spoon races
- musical chairs
- pass the parcel
- make up and share riddles, limericks, haikus, and poems
- Attend events at libraries, schools, and bookstores.
- View or put together displays at libraries, schools, and bookstores.
- Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set.
- Check for events and information from Middle-earth News.
- Read about or join the American Tolkien Society.
- Read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.
- Watch a film based on the books. Check to see if any public showings are being held near you. You could watch The Hobbit, an animated made-for-television film from 1977, or one of the live-action Peter Jackson films: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, or The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. You could also watch The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, or The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.