International Hobbit Day is September 22nd. Are you ready to celebrate with your homeschooled hobbits?
Many homeschool families have an affinity for J.R.R. Tolkien’s cheerful halflings: hobbits walk barefoot, love a good party, and eat a whopping six meals a day. This last point hits close to home: my kids are always eating, and even after the most hearty morning meal, I often find them enjoying the hobbit classic of “second breakfast”.
Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are classic literature at this point, enjoyed by countless people around the world. It’s no wonder that a day to celebrate his creation has developed. So if you have some hobbits in your home, here’s how you can celebrate.
What Hobbit Day Is
Hobbit Day is a celebration of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthdays, which both fall on September 22nd. In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo marks his birthday every year in the hobbit tradition of giving away presents to his friends and family. One year, Bilbo makes arrangements to leave his home in the Shire, an idyllic country of rolling hills and farmland. Not content to slip away quietly, he plans an immense birthday party, with much food, cheer, and fireworks from Gandalf. At the end of a speech, he slips on the ring he obtained in The Hobbit, turns invisible, and heads home. He then leaves the ring for Frodo, his adopted heir, and slips away on a final journey from the Shire.
As the years pass, Frodo continues to celebrate his and Bilbo’s birthdays in a joint party, although smaller than Bilbo’s. Many years later, though, when it is clear that the ring is not a simple party game with an invisibility trick, Frodo makes arrangements to leave the Shire as well and carry the ring with him. He makes arrangements and waits for Gandalf to guide his journey, but Gandalf fails to appear. On his birthday, Frodo leaves the Shire just in time to escape the fearsome Black Riders.
This is what Hobbit Day represents: it is a birthday party for the world’s most beloved hobbits, but also a representation of setting out on a journey and a quest.
Planning a Homeschool Hobbit Day Party
Celebrating Hobbit Day doesn’t need to take a lot of time, money, or effort. Even the smallest traditions can bring your family together and create memorable moments. Here are some easy activities that you can incorporate into your day.
Pleasures of the Table: Hobbit Day Food
Because hobbits are famous for eating heartily, food is the essential piece to any Hobbit Day celebration.
In our family, we like to enjoy a fancy second breakfast. While our menu isn’t particularly hobbit-ish, I take the opportunity to fry up a full-English breakfast of:
- Hash browns
- Grilled tomato
- Baked beans
- Fried mushrooms
- And if you are brave, black pudding
Tolkien’s books give plenty of other inspiration for meals and snacks that you might enjoy throughout the day. You could try:
- Lembas bread, the wayfaring bread made by elves
- A tasty pub meal, like the one enjoyed at the Prancing Pony, which includes “hot soup, cold meats, a blackberry tart, new loaves, slabs of butter, and half a ripe cheese”
- Afternoon tea with scones, tarts, and seed cake. A warning on this one: caraway seed tastes like licorice, so if that’s not something you like, you might replace it with poppy seeds.
- Honey cakes like Bilbo enjoyed at Beorn’s house
In my opinion, the best part of Hobbit Day is that, even if all you do is have second breakfast and a hearty dinner, you’ll have celebrated in true hobbit fashion.
Low-Prep Hobbit Day Activities
If your family really loves Tolkien’s writing, you don’t have to stop at food.
Of course, one of the simplest activities you can do is open up The Hobbit or The Fellowship of the Ring and start reading aloud to your children. Even after multiple readings, there is still something special about the opening line of The Fellowship of the Ring:
When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
What a perfect opening for a Hobbit Day party!
Other easy Hobbit Day activities include packing a picnic and taking your own “Unexpected Journey” by finding a place to hike as a family. You can remember Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures as you go. If you have a bit more time and the weather is on your side, you might also decide to camp.
If you aren’t in a position to take a day away from lessons to celebrate Hobbit Day, why not infuse school with a little Tolkien-inspired fun?
- Ami has free copywork from The Hobbit available at her blog, Walking by the Way
- Kick-off your days with The Hobbit using Pam’s Morning Time plans – including poetry, art, and nature study
- Teach some practical life-skills and set your kids the task of baking treats for afternoon tea
- Print a large map of Middle Earth and create a fantastical geography lesson
Start Your Own Hobbit Day Traditions
Whether you go all-in on your Hobbit Day celebrations, or simply crack open a Tolkien novel and read aloud to your kids, make this year the year that you start your own Hobbit Day traditions as a family. These will become memories you and your children will cherish through the years.