Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tolkien Reading Day

Photo from Mod DB 
"Black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell."
-The Return of the King: Book VI, Chapter IV

For the literary world, today is an important day. Today, March 25th, is the day Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee reached the center of Mount Doom and the One Ring was cast back into the depths of fire from whence it came, and Barad-dur fell and the Dark Lord Sauron was defeated. Today, Middle-Earth was changed forever.

But since 2003, March 25th has been something more for lovers of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and other Middle-Earth stories. Today is Tolkien Reading Day.

What is Tolkien Reading Day?

The Tolkien Society--at the inquiry of journalist Sean Kirst--decided it was necessary to establish a day to celebrate Tolkien as a writer and his writing. A day to focus on the stories beyond the well-known Lord of the Rings; a day to celebrate and read.

Since Tolkienites were already celebrating such days as Tolkien's birthday (January 3rd) and Hobbit Day (September 22nd: both Bilbo and Frodo's birthdays), the Tolkien Society wanted a day that fell somewhere in between but also had great significance in the Middle-Earth calendar.

March 25th holds the greatest significance. Sauron was destroyed and hope was renewed in Middle-Earth. In the tradition for Gondor, March 25th marks a New Year. What better way is there to celebrate such a beloved and talented author than on such an important day?

Photo from LOTR Project

What You Can Do:

There are a number of ways you can personally celebrate Tolkien Reading Day. One of the easiest? Read! Anything, everything, whatever you want. You can find your favorite passage and read it over and over. You can make a goal to read through a portion of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. You can read some of Tolkien's poems or songs, maybe a few of the Lost Tales or legends from Middle Earth. (Don't know what's so "cool" about Tolkien? Read the books to find out! Tolkien Reading Day is perfect for that.)

This year the Tolkien Society has chosen "friendship" as the theme, highlighting that it was Frodo and Sam's friendship that got them and the Ring to Mount Doom. Grabbing a friend or two to sit down and discuss Tolkien's work would be the perfect way to spend the day but of course, there are many other ways to celebrate the Father of Fantasy, Tolkien and the defeat of Sauron.

Maybe you're a crazy Tolkien fan like me and want to be ambitious. Dress up! It's easy to find something that would work related to Tolkien's world. Find a button-down shirt, a vest, maybe roll-up your pants and tromp around barefoot: you're a hobbit. Add some dirt and a haggard look to your face and you could pass as a hobbit going through Mordor. Or you could go all out and find a cool knight outfit and pretend to be one of the warriors of Gondor or Rohan fighting at the Black Gate. Or get a long, light colored sheet and pretend to be an Elf.

Carry around a ring with you all day and stroke it. Make something delicious to eat like lembas bread or any number of Middle-Earth recipes. Learn to write your name in Elvish. Watch one of the movies, or better yet take on the whole marathon, all extended edition (bonus if you watch The Hobbit movies too!) Listen to Tolkien read a poem in Elvish. You can re-enact scenes, read the books, or have a great youtube audio book read it to you. Find our your hobbit and elf name. Get together with friends and other lovers of Tolkien and fantasy and have a nice long chat over tea, salted pork, or lembas bread. Listen to the music of Middle-Earth. Arthur Harrow has a hilarious list of "10 Things to do on Tolkien Reading Day, March 25th" to check out as well.

Basically, Tolkienites don't care how you celebrate or who you are. You could have just been introduced to Tolkien or have been reading his works since you were six years old. Either way: you are invited to a special occasion, a special time, a celebration because Middle-Earth is free and the dark gloom of Mordor has been vanquished at last.

Personally, I plan to dress up as a hobbit and run around my school's campus barefoot and sporting a green cape. I am also going to have Second Breakfast (9 a.m.) with three "hobbits" and eat lembas bread. I hope to find time to read a portion of his writings, perhaps something I haven't read before, and just soak in his lovely and articulate writing.

Photo from Middle-Earth News

What will you do for Tolkien Reading Day? Let us know in the comments. And remember, it's never too late to celebrate such a wonderful world of writing. 


  1. Ugh, I missed it! I should have worn my copy of The Ring. I have it on a chain and wore it to the first Hobbit movie, I think.

    1. Don't forget, there's always Hobbit Day on September 22nd. Or you could just be super cool & celebrate Tolkien/Middle-Earth everyday :)

      & you'll know for next year.

      That's awesome :)