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Towel Day on May 25 is an annual holiday created to celebrate author Douglas Adams by his fans. Adams wrote the classic sci-fi novel, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” This day was organized in memory of him after he suffered a sudden heart attack at the age of 49. His fans wanted to find a way to commemorate his life’s work, and after having one towel day, its success made it a yearly event. On this day, fans carry towels around everywhere they go. Today, we are celebrating this holiday with a towel wrapped around our necks because, we too, love Douglas Adams!
History of Towel Day
Towel Day is celebrated on May 25, two weeks after the date of Adams’s death in 2001 — May 11. The day has, over time, received the status of being a kind of ‘‘geek holiday’’ due to its connection with the popular series.
Why a towel? It’s said the towel holds much importance in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Adams wrote about towels as being the most helpful item for an interstellar traveler. In chapter three of the book, he writes, “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon…” and so the uses go on.
Adams’s strongest advice was “Never go anywhere without your towel.” This day has been celebrated now for 19 years and is a great occasion for science fiction fans all over the world to come together and rejoice … with their towels. It is said that Adams was a humorous writer and witty character and that this day reflects his lovable silliness.
Towel Day timeline
Douglas Adams's radio series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is broadcast for the first time — kickstarting a long line of adaptations into other formats.
The first Towel Day ever is celebrated on May 25, 2001, just two weeks after Adams's death on May 11.
In January, the Huffington Post lists Towel Day as a cult literary tradition.
The Norwegian public transport company Kolumbus gives away special towels to customers.
On Towel Day, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti signals a Towel Day greeting and reads from ‘‘The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’’ from the International Space Station.
Towel Day FAQs
How do people celebrate Towel Day?
Grab your favorite towel and head down to the pub with a group of friends (and this year, by “pub” we mean your kitchen, and by “group of friends” we mean over a group video chat.)
Why do you need a towel in "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy"?
“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value.” – Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Do you know where your towel is?
Of course we do! Someone in control of virtually any situation is someone who knows where their towel is, according to the famous interstellar guide. Our towel is right he– oh. We could have sworn it was here only a moment ago.
Towel Day Activities
Carry a towel
The hardcore fans of ‘‘Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’’ will be carrying a towel around for the day, so grab your towel and join in! Just make sure that it’s clean. Take a photo of you wearing your towel, and upload it to social media with the hashtag #towelday.
Use a line from the series
Weave in some of the phrases from the ‘‘Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’’ into your conversations. Try "Life, the Universe, and Everything", "Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them around to dinner", "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so", or "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." It may confuse folks around you, but those who know, know.
Visit the website
Check out the towleday.org website and see what everyone else is up to on this day. Inspire yourself and find other ways to celebrate or join in with others as a group in your area or even your country. Or be a go-getter and make your own Towel Day event that fans can attend.
5 Facts About Douglas Adams
An asteroid is named after him
In 2001, Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project discovered an asteroid and named it 25924 Douglasadams.
He appeared in a famous TV show
Adams apparently made a brief appearance as an extra called Dr. Emile Konig in an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus — he also contributed to the writing of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
He was friends with David Gilmour
An avid musician himself, Adams owned between 24 and 35 left-handed guitars, appeared on stage at Pink Floyd's 1994 gig at Earl's Court in London, and named the band's album that year, "The Division Bell."
He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro ... but there's more
Adams was an environmentalist and loved animals, campaigning on behalf of endangered species for most of his life — in 1994, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in a rhino suit to raise awareness for Save The Rhino.
He wrote a few "Doctor Who" episodes
He was a contributing writer for several episodes of the famous British series, "Doctor Who."
Why We Love Towel Day
You can get loads of information on the day from the twitter account @towelday and the official website, towelday.org. You can find out stuff like information on the life of Douglas Adams, details on the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” radio series, and interact with the 7,000+ fans who follow this day.
This holiday gives us a chance to read or reread Adams's life’s work. Go back and immerse yourself in the trilogy of “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” as well as “Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency”, “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” and many more titles that made Adams so beloved.
Galaxy binge session
This day also gives us a chance to binge on the shows linked to Adams. So watch a movie or a TV series derived from his books. Do it with your friends and carry your towels together. Celebrate this great author and come together to watch some good and classic TV.
Towel Day dates