Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Dear Friends, Today Is My Eleventy-First Birthday!

Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday: I am eleventy-one today!...  I hope you are all enjoying yourselves as much as I am....  I shall not keep you long,... I have called you all together for a Purpose....  Indeed, for Three Purposes! First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits....  I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.... Secondly, to celebrate my birthday.... I should say: OUR birthday. For it is, of course, also the birthday of my heir and nephew, Frodo. He comes of age and into his inheritance today.... Together we score one hundred and forty-four. Your numbers were chosen to fit this remarkable total: One Gross, if I may use the expression.... 'One Gross, indeed! Vulgar expression.' It is also, if I may be allowed to refer to ancient history, the anniversary of my arrival by barrel at Esgaroth on the Long Lake; though the fact that it was my birthday slipped my memory on that occasion. I was only fifty-one then, and birthdays did not seem so important. The banquet was very splendid, however, though I had a bad cold at the time, I remember, and could only say 'thag you very buch'. I now repeat it more correctly: Thank you very much for coming to my little party.... Thirdly and finally, he said, I wish to make an ANNOUNCEMENT....  I regret to announce that – though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you – this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!
Ok, it's not MY birthday, but it is the birthday of two very noteworthy heros.  And if you are good little geeks, enjoying Tolkien week this year (started Sunday ya all!), then you will most like have already reread or heard, or listened to, or thought of fondly, Bilbo's fairwell speech underneath the party tree all those years ago in the Shire of Middle Earth.  Or maybe you didn't and you forgot about all those holidays I told you were coming up.  Well it's not to late to start participating, and what's greater fun than Hobbit Day?  So, "Greetings you my friend, may I get you some tea?"  It's time for a feast and a celebration of the sort you seldom see.

Hobbit Day, the oldest known recognized Tolkien celebration, corresponds with the birthdays of Tolkien's most famous heros, Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins.  These two were no ordinary beings, they were Hobbits.  Hobbits are easily identified as Tolkien's ideal society.  Agrarian, peaceful, taking joy in the simple pleasures and holy interested in their own affairs with little interest in the politics of greater society.  They kept tidy houses with nice gardens, smoked pipe tobacco, drank beer, sing, dance, and eat.  Oh how Hobbits eat. While I struggle to maintain a 3 meal a day routine (keeps slipping to 2), hobbits routinely eat 7 meals when they can get them.

Because of their noteworthy eating habits, and because no Hobbit would dare celebrate anything without an overabundance of food,  Hobbit Day is always celebrated with food.  LOTS of food.  A full Hobbit celebration includes a meal for breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.  Being out of doors, going for a walk, is another fun tradition of Hobbit Day.  Incorporating friends, relations, and a party atmosphere and you've got the festivity nailed!

Of course no celebration is complete without discussion of the great tales of Middle Earth and the heros of the Shire.  This year my kids will be getting more of the Hobbit as it is about their level.  Someday they will join us for the story of the One Ring.


  1. Oh, how I wish I had someone to share Hobbit day with. My husband is suspicious of all things fantasy, afraid that the "magic" will somehow lead to thoughts or actions that are un-Christian. One of our on-going arguments is that I continue to enjoy both sci-fi and fantasy books, movies, etc.
    So, have some tea and a cookie or two for me. I'll think of you (and the Shire) with fondness.
    Your reader (and relative) in SC

  2. Oh Hun, I am so sorry. However if your husband is done with fantasy, my husband would like his Tolkien stuff back ;)

    In all seriousness, I will have some extra cake and celebration for you! I believe our family will be celebrating through the weekend, after all even the Hobbit is a long read for preschoolers.

    We feel that imagination as imagination and exposure to pretend concepts are healthy for children, and I won't even begin to talk about the benefits of Science Fiction here, but so many things have been developed because an engineer wanted an imaginary item first envisioned in science fiction.


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