Posted on September 18, 2014 at 6:00 am
September 22nd is Hobbit Day—and with that joyous day around the corner, a proper Middle-earth celebration is in order.
By Shire-Reckoning, both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins were born on September 22nd. If that isn’t enough reason to celebrate, The Hobbit was also published this week back in 1937. Hobbit Day even kicks off a whole Tolkien Week, a celebration of JRR Tolkien and his son, Christopher, so I heartily encourage fans everywhere to hold their own celebrations.
Now Bilbo went a bit over the top for his Long-Expected Party; he was turning 111 after all. But most Hobbits are an easy going-folk. They’re fond of farming, eating, and friends, so with just a few simple tricks, you’ll be set for your own Tolkien celebration!
Hobbits are known for their well-stocked pantries and their hearty appetites so make sure you’ve gathered lots of Hobbit approved snacks. They aren’t too fussy, but they’ve got some favorites for sure. Bread and cheese are safe options, and you can’t forget mushrooms, though I wouldn’t suggest stealing them from Farmer Maggot’s fields.
If you’re a little more adventurous, you can also try any number of Hobbit recipes available online—my favorite is Belledonna Took’s Seed Cake. It’s got the right balance of spice and sweetness, sure to please Hobbits anywhere. For a little more tongue in cheek approach to your food, you could even incorporate some gummy rings (for the One Ring) or some Keebler elf cookies (in honor of the Council of Elrond).
The path is treacherous, and the journey long, so if you’re headed for Mt. Doom, you’ll want to embrace all the Hobbit layers – the shirt, vest, coat, and the cloak. And don’t forget your suspenders! Lost your cloak on your last adventure? You can find instructions for making a new one online. You’ll also want to remember your trusty sword, Sting, so you can properly defend yourself should the need arise. Orcs, Smaug, or Shelob could be anywhere.
Go as big or as small as you want, but to truly embrace the day, you have to dress up at least a little. If a Hobbit doesn’t suit you, feel free to embrace one of the other numerous races described in Tolkien’s works. With just a little effort, you could have your very own elf ears or yarn beard (for both the dwarf and wizard fans). Or if you’d rather keep it simple, just kick off your shoes (or try these extra hairy flip flop Hobbit feet), roll up your pants, and enjoy!
Now I don’t mean you have to know everything there is to know about Tolkien lore—and I’m honestly not sure you could. What I’m saying is that this is the perfect excuse to look for some of the more obscure bits of history and information. Tolkien was a prolific world-builder. He didn’t just create a story with an interesting setting; he created an entire universe and then featured some of the most interesting bits of history within it.
When I was younger, I would dig through the appendices of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for all the family trees and timelines. Now you can find most of that online, but I still prefer paging through the Silmarillion or the Histories of Middle-Earth when I’m eager to explore that history. So if you haven’t already, take a look at some of the rich back story available. You’ll be able to amaze (or annoy) your friends with all the new trivia you pick up!
Now don’t think I’ve forgotten about the fireworks. While those are certainly a big part of Bilbo’s Long-Expected Party, not everyone’s got a Gandalf handy for the spectacle. Unlike the Shire, they’re also illegal in most of the county. You’ll have to settle for Merry and Pippin’s misadventures with fireworks from the Fellowship of the Ring film. It should be fine though, most Hobbits are a bit less adventurous than Frodo or Bilbo, and prefer the quieter things in life anyway.
Remember that all of this is in fun. Don’t lose friends over the movies vs. books debate. Try not to cringe too much at the Legolas-Tauriel-Kili “love triangle.” And don’t get too weepy when Frodo, Bilbo, and the others set off for the undying lands. If everything starts getting a bit too serious, you can always try a hilarious viewing of “Taking the Hobbits to Isengard” or browsing through the dozens of memes surrounding Boromir’s now infamous statement. My personal favorite it this one:
Whether you intend to celebrate with a big party, a movie-marathon, a day of reading, or some combination of these, just make sure to enjoy it the way you want.
Sadly, I must work Monday evening, so my own Hobbit celebration will have to wait a little bit this year. I will probably be wandering the Spokane Valley library, however, in my cloak and hairy feet, so make sure you stop in to say hello!
What are your plans for the big day?