Although a fictional holiday, Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day is officially on December 21. To be precise, the day commemorates a date in fictional history, but in a piece of fiction that is loved all around the world. If you haven’t guessed it yet, let us tell you. We’re talking about the classic novel titled “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne, a French novelist whom most literature aficionados are familiar with. Also known as Phileas Fogg Wager Day, December 21 is the day by which the novel’s main character, Phileas Fogg, must accomplish his challenge to win a wager of £20,000.
History of Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day
Set and published in 1872, Jules Verne’s adventure novel is certainly a classic, and with good reason. Since it was written during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and 1871, it was a difficult time for Verne and his country. It was already a financially dire period for him, and he was called upon as coastguard during the war. Two events had greatly affected him during this time — one was his father’s death, and the other was a public execution that greatly disturbed him.
Just before this time, by 1870, there were three major breakthroughs that made a tourist-like around-the-world journey possible for the first time. This development in circumnavigation fascinated Verne, whose character was inspired by the real around-the-world journey of the adventurous American writer William Perry Fogg.
Before we knew it, the novel was serially published starting on December 21, 1872, while it was published in book form on January 30, 1973. It is no wonder that December 21 was chosen as the significant wager day in the book. Or was it? Because of this coincidence of dates, people believed the journey was actually taking place in real time!
In the novel, when Phileas Fogg argues about the possibility of traveling around the globe in 80 days, he is challenged by his fellow club members to prove it. The argument stems from an article in “The Daily Telegraph” which mentions the opening of a new railway section in India, with which it would then be theoretically possible to travel around the world in just 80 days. Later that evening, on October 2, 1872, without wasting any time, Fogg departs London with his valet. To win the wager — and £20,000 — he must arrive back at the club on December 21, 1872, at the same time. Spoiler alert — he wins, and 140 years later, we still celebrate his victory.
Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day timeline
A decision is made on October 2, the day Phileas Fogg sets off on his iconic journey.
Phileas Fogg succeeds in proving the titular challenge of the book, winning his wager on December 21!
The novel is serially published starting on December 21, 1872, but is published in book form on January 30, 1973.
Nellie Bly is the first to take up the famous challenge and manages to complete the journey in 72 days.
The first film adaptation of the book is released in 1919, with Conrad Veidt playing the role of Fogg.
Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day FAQs
How much did Phileas Fogg wager that he could travel around the world in 80 days?
It was a grand wager of £20,000, which was about half his fortune. The amount translates to roughly £1.8 million in the present day. To win the wager, he had to return to the Reform Club by the same time, 80 days later.
Who is Phileas Fogg and why is he famous?
He is the star character of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” a fictional novel published in 1872. He became famous for his courageous nature, adventurous spirit, curious mindset, and carefree attitude. He was also a precise and punctual man.
Which countries did Phileas Fogg visit?
He starts and ends in London, U.K. On his journey, he visits Egypt, Italy, India, China, Singapore, Japan, and the U.S.A, in that order. The majority of the places he visited were British colonies at the time.
How to Celebrate Phileas Fogg Wager Day
Read the novel
Give the classic a read if you haven’t already. It doesn’t matter if you know how it ends. The journey is more important than the destination, and this read is quite the ride.
Watch its adaptations
There are numerous film and TV adaptations of this classic book and they have not stopped coming throughout the past century. It’s also worth checking out Verne’s other fine works, such as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.”
Travel the world
The best homage you could pay to the classic is by actually going around the world, even if it’s not in 80 days. Please take your time and more importantly, take precautions. Write a travelogue of your own.
5 Facts About “Around The World In Eighty Days”
A thousand adaptations
With numerous film adaptations over the years, actors Conrad Veidt, David Niven, Simon Callow, Steve Coogan, Pierce Brosnan, and Michael Praed have all played the character of Phileas Fogg — the latest to join this list is David Tennant for a 2021 series.
A thousand inspirations
In the past century, people have succeeded in taking this signature journey around the world in 80 days in multiple forms — on foot, by bicycle, using public transport, using other trains and ships, wearing an iron mask, and even going the opposite way!
Actor and comedian Michael Palin made a BBC television travel series in 1989 mimicking the journey as closely as he could, achieving the feat in 79 days and 7 hours.
A chain of U.K. pubs called Mr. Fogg’s specializes in international drinks and cocktails, to take you around the world in a glass — the pubs are named after places where the fictional Phileas Fogg lived or visited.
Founded in 1982, Phileas Fogg Snacks is a brand of British crisps aimed at adults and branded with a well-known, iconic character — the snack offered different flavors from around the world, like garlic bread and tortilla chips.
Why we love Phileas Fogg Wager Day
Fogg’s philosophy in life is to accept things he can’t change, but change things he finds unacceptable. He travels light and, befitting a traveler, is knowledgeable about geography. These things make him a great, carefree adventurer.
Balance is key
He is a balanced man, not just with his thought processes, but also physically. His precise habits could be considered borderline eccentric, but he manages to find love. He is brave, but not reckless, and knows when to let things be.
Knowing what’s important
He avoids being drawn into useless confrontations, believing them to be a waste of time and energy. While he is a reserved man, he is decisive in his actions. He has high moral standards but doesn’t shy away from offering the occasional bribe.
Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day dates