Tolkien Week is observed as the calendar week containing September 22, which is always observed as Hobbit Day. Tolkien Week 2016 will begin Sunday, September 18 and end Saturday, September 24.
Both celebrations began in 1978. Hobbit Day in particular, and Tolkien Week as well, have gained some measure of legal dignity through a variety of proclamations, declarations, tributes and similar governmental documents prepared by elected officials who support the Society, its goals and the observance of these holidays. Both events have attracted bipartisan support, from the county courthouse to the White House and U.S. Capitol.
Tolkien Week honors J.R.R. Tolkien and his son and editor, Christopher J.R. Tolkien, and celebrates the Middle-earth cycle: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King), Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth.
The most popular method of observing Tolkien Week is the library, bookstore or school display. Most libraries have bulletin boards or cases, and some have enclosed display tables and other facilities up to and including display windows of considerable size. Many librarians among our members and friends create displays; other members contact their libraries and assist in preparing displays.
The same is certainly true of schools. Hobbit Day and Tolkien Week fall during the "Back to School" season and can create a bright new interest for students in literature classes and libraries. A number of schools and libraries host seminars and art shows during the week. Those with the facilities and budget sometimes arrange for a showing of one or more of the motion pictures based on the works. A few have even presented marathon showings of the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films!
Tolkien Week displays and seminars have been held in places ranging from distinguished universities to libraries located in prisons, mental institutions, and army bases. If your activities include presentation of research papers or other materials suitable for publication, please consider submitting the available works to the Society for possible publication in Minas Tirith Evening-Star: Journal of the American Tolkien Society.
Hobbit Day, on the other hand, is scheduled to fall on Bilbo's and Frodo's mutual birthday, the date of the Long Awaited Party (translated in text by Tolkien as September 22). This is perhaps the oldest festal observance associated with Tolkien fandom. Celebration actually predates the formal designation of the holiday. A variety of names have been applied to the date and the celebrations.
In large part, Hobbit Day is usually taken up with the fun activities - the feasts, games, costume events, fireworks and the like. Hobbit Day is a virtually ideal holiday, incorporating attractive elements of several others: the masquerade fun of Halloween, the feast of Thanksgiving, the exchange of greeting cards and gifts associated with Christmas and birthdays, the picnic atmosphere of Labor Day and Memorial Day, the fireworks of Independence Day (or Guy Fawkes Day)... and the study and reflection associated with many commemorative days throughout the year.
Copyright 2016 American Tolkien Society. All rights reserved.
TOLKIEN is a trade mark of The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate Limited and is used with kind permission.
The photo of J.R.R. Tolkien is used by kind permission of his U.S. publisher, Houghton Mifflin.
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