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Harry Potter started making his mark on the world more than a dozen years ago through the magical series of fiction books created by author JK Rowling. So get on board the Hogwart’s Express and join in with others all over the world who are showing appreciation through International Harry Potter Day!

History of International Harry Potter Day

Though the Harry Potter series of books dates back to 1998 and the films got their start in 2001, it wasn’t until a decade later, after the books and films were both done and dusted, that International Harry Potter Day was officially announced. In fact, it was in 2012 that then prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, made a declaration that the day would be celebrated on May 2 of each year.

When Cameron pronounced the day, he said, “We hope that children and adults alike will be reminded of Harry Potter’s strong and courageous character on this day”.

Some people wonder if this date was chosen because it is Harry Potter’s birthday, but any Potterhead worth their salt knows that it falls on July 31. No, the reason for the May 2 observance of International Harry Potter Day is because that is the day that the great Battle of Hogwarts was fought. And because this battle is when Lord Voldemort was finally defeated, it seems like a fitting time to celebrate!

How to Celebrate International Harry Potter Day

Don’t let the Muggles get you down! Take some time to celebrate and enjoy International Harry Potter Day with some delightful activities and events, starting with some ideas like these:

Read the Harry Potter Book Series

As Ron Weasley says in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, “When in doubt, go to the library.”

Those who were perhaps older or too young when the series of books came out in 1998 may have missed all of the hullabaloo about it. If that’s the case, then International Harry Potter Day would be the perfect time to get caught up with this best selling book series. Head on over to the public library or local book seller and start by checking out the first book.

And for those who have already read the series? Take a little stroll down memory lane 15 years later and consider reading them again. Or, even better, read them with your kids to start a new generation of Potterheads!

Host an International Harry Potter Day Party

What could be a better way to enjoy and celebrate International Harry Potter Day with friends than by inviting them to a party to pay heed to the day?! Invite guests to dress up as their favorite character from the books or films. Decorate with Harry Potter themed items that can easily be found online. And serve snacks that show respect for the day, including cheesy broomsticks, “butterbeer”, treacle tart, or Harry Potter’s pumpkin juice.

There’s literally an entire magic world out there to get creative and go nuts over in observance of International Harry Potter Day!

Watch the Harry Potter Film Series

Not as interested in reading or don’t have as much time? That’s okay! All seven of the original Harry Potter series of books were made into eight films that were made from 2001 to 2011. Begin at the beginning, with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and watch the kids grow up while moving through the series. Choose to either binge watch over a weekend or take them one per week for the next couple of months. Invite friends or family members and make it a fun connection of Harry Potter world fantasy!

Learn Fun Facts About Harry Potter

In honor of International Harry Potter Day, perhaps it would be fun to learn a few different bits of trivia about the series and its author. Get started with some of these: 

  • JK Rowling holds the Guinness record for highest-selling series by a single author. 

  • Harry Potter’s birthday is on July 31 – the same as author JK Rowling. 

  • Rowling was asked to play Harry’s mother in the first movie, but she turned it down. 

  • The city of Edinburgh, Scotland was inspirational for Rowling as she wrote the first book. 

Get Sorted into Your Harry Potter House

In honor and celebration of International Harry Potter Day, it might be a fun and clever idea for individuals, friends or family members to dig a little deeper into the book series by determining which house they fit in. Hogwarts is divided into four different houses that represent the four classical elements.

Choose from Gryffindor (fire), Hufflepuff (earth), Slytherin (water) or Ravenclaw (air). Each of the student characters from the books and films were divided into houses and fans tend to like deciding which house they belong to as well. Not sure how to tell?

The official website for the series, Wizarding World offers a variety of fun features and ways to learn more about Harry Potter. And this includes getting sorted into a house by the magical Sorting Hat. Check it out just for fun. Other activities offered on the Wizarding World website include quizzes, puzzles, archives, trivia, legacy games and so much more.

Catch the Harry Potter Spinoffs

When Harry Potter’s particular world ended with the final book and movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, fans were a bit sad. But the good news is that JK Rowling has continued writing and new spinoffs have come through. The Fantastic Beasts series, which functions as a prequel to the other books and movies, was released as a novel and then three films.

In celebration of International Harry Potter Day, it might be fun to see how it all began by reading the novel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Or, watch the series of three films the first of which had the honor of winning an Oscar (for Best Costume Design) even though none of the original Harry Potter series films ever did.

International Harry Potter Day FAQs

How many Harry Potter movies are there?

There are eight different films in the original Harry Potter series, filmed from 2001-2011. [1]

Where was Harry Potter filmed?

The Harry Potter series had film locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. [2]

Has Harry Potter won an Oscar?

The original series of Harry Potter films has never won an Oscar. [3]

Has Harry Potter ended?

Although the original series of seven Harry Potter books and eight films has ended, author JK Rowling has continued to write spinoff books. [4]

Have Harry Potter books been banned?

In some places in the US, Harry Potter books have been much disputed and even banned due to their portrayal of witchcraft and magic. [5]

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