For many fans of Tolkien’s varied works, Tolkien Reading Day marks a special time where the world celebrates as a whole on the Professor’s legacy. Set on March 25, the date has significance because of the history of perhaps Tolkien’s greatest work, The Lord of the Rings.
But what is Tolkien Reading Day?
Established in March 2003 by The Tolkien Society, Tolkien Reading Day is a day where fans of the Professor celebrate and share their favorite passages from any of his writings. According to The Tolkien Society, the day began because of an inquiry made by columnist Sean Kirst. He wondered if there were days dedicated to other authors, why couldn’t there be one dedicated to one of the twentieth centuries most prolific authors? Thus, on March 25, 2003, The Tolkien Society established the first Tolkien Reading Day.
The choice of the date is simple: In The Lord of the Rings, March 25 marks the day the Sauron was defeated, and Barad-dûr fell. It’s really that simple. However, by choosing a date based on significance to the works of Tolkien rather than just one of convenience really lends itself well to the event. Fans of the books have something to rally around and can come together for a common cause: to read and simply enjoy the works of the Professor.
Many websites do events and giveaways, with a few of the top Tolkien-themed sites giving away t-shirts (Middle-earth News) or copies of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Legendarium Media). In addition, fans rally around the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay to quickly share their favorite passages via social media. Some members of Tolkien Society chapters, named Smials, will meet in person and read aloud their favorite chapters or passages of his works, not just limited to his books set in Middle-earth. In fact, many have chosen Tolkien’s Beowulf translation, which the Inquisitr reported on previously.
Still have my original copies from my very first reading at 10 years old. #TolkienReadingDay
— Wicked Wolf (@WickedWolf17) March 25, 2015
— The Tolkien Society (@TolkienSociety) March 25, 2015
— Middle Earth News (@MiddleEarthNews) March 25, 2015
"For still there are so many things That I have never seen. In every wood in every spring There is a different green." #TolkienReadingDay
— StaffsWildlife (@StaffsWildlife) March 25, 2015
— MIT Libraries (@mitlibraries) March 25, 2015
— Emma Vossen (@getsomeaction) March 25, 2015
In Middle-earth, the recounting of stories was something that was not only common place, but cultural. It emulates the societies of the past in our history. The Hall of Fire, as seen in The Fellowship of the Ring was a cultural, common event that members of a village would do: sitting around a hearth and recounting tales of the past. Tolkien Reading Day hearkens to this shared link between our history and his secondary world in a way that is extremely fitting.
How are you planning on celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? Have a favorite passage from his books you’d like to share? Celebrate Tolkien in the comments below.