September 22nd is the Birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, two characters from J.R.R. Tolkien’s popular Middle Earth Cycle books (The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings respectively) in which Hobbits, typically between two and four feet tall and nothing like your usual ‘hero’, accomplish great feats and amazing acts of courage. It is in honour of these creatures and those acts that the day is celebrated with events not unlike the birthday party described in the beginning of “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
In the United States Hobbit Day has gained some measure of legal dignity due to the elected officials who support the day and the goals of the American Tolkien Society. The Day has also attracted Bipartisan Support from places as the U.S. County Courthouse, to the White House, to the U.S. Capitol.
A separate event to Tolkien Week (although the Week will always fall over Hobbit Day, running Sunday to Saturday), Hobbit Day is perhaps the oldest running day celebrated by fans. There is some debate on the date that Hobbit Day should be celebrated on, due to the differences in the Gregorian and Shire calendars. Tolkien once said that the Shire calendar is ahead by about ten days depending on the month. A suggested alternative date by hardcore fans is September 14th. Although the day was not officially designated until 1978 and has had many names and designations, it has been celebrated since 1973, shortly after J.R.R. Tolkien died on September 2nd of that year.
Fans celebrate by anything from going barefoot all day and having seven meals, to Literary discussions and readings, Lord Of The Rings Movie Marathons, and throwing parties in honour of the ‘Long Awaited Party’ at the start of the Fellowship Of The Ring with events such as feasts, games, costumes and fireworks.