International Harry Potter Day on May 1 brings merriment to Potterheads around the world. The then UK Prime Minister David Cameron declared this day an official international holiday to honor the literary work of J. K. Rowling. Now, over a decade since the release of the last book in the series, the passion surrounding the characters and their life events have not faded. Grab your wand and let’s revel in the magical history of Harry Potter.
History of International Harry Potter Day
In 2012, Harry Potter fans around the world cheered Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s declaration that May 2 would forevermore be known as International Harry Potter Day. Author J. K. Rowling’s literary series had a significant impact and holds the Guinness World Record as the highest-selling series by a single author at over 500 million copies sold.
Why May 2? The Battle of Hogwarts was fought on this date in 1998. The final conflict of the Second Wizarding War took place at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Order of the Phoenix proved victorious, ending the most devastating battle of that war and resulting in numerous casualties, most notably Lord Voldemort.
Every year brings extraordinary ways to commemorate and celebrate this enchanted day. There are anniversaries to recognize, characters to remember, places to see. Key locations throughout Europe that have ties to the movie offer events. The popularity of the entire franchise spawned a theme park, retail stores, an escape room, and merchandise related to everything Harry Potter.
In Cameron’s official statement announcing the new holiday he said “In order to fully commemorate and immortalize her work, we have decided to officially declare May 2nd as an official international holiday, in honor of the date that protagonist Harry Potter conquered the main antagonist of the series, Lord Voldemort. We hope that children and adults alike will be reminded of Harry Potter’s strong and courageous character on this day, as well as of the true credit that Ms. Rowling has made to society.”
International Harry Potter Day timeline
International Harry Potter Day established
Prime Minister, David Cameron, declares May 2 as International Harry Potter Day.
Record-breaking final release
Holding the Guinness World Record for the most novels sold within 24 hours of release, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is released to conclude the series.
- November 16, 2001
Blockbuster film series begins
The original novel is released as a movie in the US.
Harry Potter is born
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first novel in the series, debuts in Britain.
International Harry Potter Day FAQs
How many times was Harry Potter rejected?
Rowling’s magical novel was rejected by publishers 12 times before being picked up by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Where did Rowling write Harry Potter?
Rowling began writing Harry Potter in a flat in Clapham Junction in London. The idea for the series came to her originally on a train from Manchester to London.
Has Rowling written books outside the Harry Potter series?
Rowling writes crime fiction under the pen name Robert Galbraith.
International Harry Potter Day Activities
Enjoy Harry Potter at home
J. K. Rowling created Harry Potter at Home, a website for children offering crafts, puzzles, and quizzes. They can join the fan club from this site and discover new things to read about the wizarding universe.
Host a Harry Potter themed trivia night
Gather some friends at your home or virtually to enjoy an evening of Harry Potter trivia. Search the many pub quizzes on the net and see who among your friends knows the most about The Boy Who Lived.
Binge read, watch or listen to the series
It’s a great day to catch up on your reading or binge-watching. Any moments of downtime call for a little Harry Potter.
5 Fun Facts About Harry Potter
The Ginger Witch
The newspapers used by characters in various scenes throughout the Harry Potter movies were created to include headlines about a special character: The Ginger Witch.
The Chosen One
Daniel Radcliffe was selected to play the once-in-a-lifetime role of Harry Potter over 300 other actors, including Haley Joel Osment.
To protect the final novel from early leaks and disclosures, Bloomsbury, the publisher, gave the book code names such as “Edinburgh Potmakers” and “The Life and Times of Clara Rose Lovett: An epic novel covering many generations”.
The food used during the feast scene in “Goblet of Fire” was real; the actors were able to eat while filming.
The Harry Potter Lexicon
Steve Vander Ark created an online library of all things Harry Potter in 2000 which fans have referenced for 20 years; to celebrate their 20th anniversary, they started a podcast, The Harry Potter Minute.
Why We Love International Harry Potter Day
Good always triumphs over evil
Everyone loves a classic good vs. evil tale and Harry Potter delivers this through the Gryffindors over the Slytherins saga.
We love magic
The mystical, magical, and imaginary draw us in. This fantasy brings adventure to life and we can live vicariously through the Harry Potter characters, who have powers we can only wish we possessed.
There is so much history
After more than 20 years of Harry Potter, many adults grew up in the wizarding universe. Reliving the series is sentimental. We’re talking about old friends at this point!
International Harry Potter Day dates