10 Geek Holidays and How to Celebrate Them

By Christian Lindke in Books, Daily Lists, Movies, Nerdery, TV
Friday, May 23, 2014 at 6:00 am

6) Serenity Day/Unification Day/Can't Stop the Serenity Day?

If one is going to write about Star Trek in a list that includes passionate geek communities, it is almost a mandated style guide rule that a discussion of Browncoats be included. While the fans of Joss Whedon's SF Western are a passionate bunch, there doesn't seem to be much consensus regarding when to celebrate the series. Some fans use the date of Unification Day as a time to watch the show, promote fandom, and share their enjoyment of the series with friends and family. The problem with that is that there is no certainty regarding the actual date of Unification Day. Some observe it on September 20th, as that aligns with the day the show first aired in 2002. A problem with that logic, however, is that while Firefly first aired on September 20th, the episode that aired that day ("The Train Job") is the second episode chronologically. Additionally, there are those place the date of Unification sometime in May or June.

SerenityValley.png

On June 23rd, 2006, two Firefly related fan events were launched. The first was an informal attempt to get Browncoats to purchase Firefly related DVDs in order to convince Hollywood producers that there was money to be made in the production of additional Firefly fare. The second, and more interesting fan event was "Can't Stop the Serenity" which began annual screenings and events dedicated to raising money for charity. Several "Can't Stop the Serenity" events are planned in the coming weeks as June 23rd approaches and the money raised will be used to support Equality Now!

Given that the time roughly coincides with the dates of the Battle of Serenity Valley, I'd recommend that you observe your Firefly fandom with a "Can't Stop the Serenity" screening or convention. That seems the Browncoat thing to do. Somehow celebrating Unification Day seems a little too pro-Alliance for my tastes.

7) Dungeons and Dragons Day

HappyDDBirthday.jpg
Source Stargazer's World

Gamers have been celebrating the creation of the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game for years in weekly/monthly gaming sessions and by attending annual gaming conventions, but until recently no one has known what day to use for official commemoration of D&D. That all changed on December 15th of 2013, when Playing at the World author Jon Peterson argued that the "official" 40th birthday for the Dungeons & Dragons game was January 26th, 2014. Based on Jon's recommendation, a number of key D&D communities observed D&D's birthday this past January. These included Kobold Press who have been hired to write adventures for the upcoming 5th edition of D&D, Geekdad, The Escapist, and Board Game Geek.

I would argue that support for the January 26th birthday of D&D was so strong that it will continue as an annual tradition with blog carnivals, game sessions, and possibly even an official Hasbro sponsored event. Given the support that Hasbro showed for January as the time to celebrate D&D's 40th, and the fact that Winter Fantasy often took place in January, that the likelihood of having an official annual birthday bash is not outside the realm of possibility.

8) Robert E. Howard Days

roberthoward.jpg
AgeofConan.com

I know, I know, this makes three authors being celebrated in one post, but trust me when I say that without these authors geek culture would be vastly different. While Howard is most famous as the creator of Conan, he wrote in a variety of genres that included Westerns, Historical Fiction, Horror, Sword & Sorcery, Boxing Tales, Detective Stories, and "Spicy" tales. Howard was an amazingly prolific writer. If you are a writer yourself and you want to feel intimidated, take a glance at this list of story titles. In a career that lasted twelve years, Howard wrote well over one hundred stories for the pulps.

What I've always found remarkable about Howard's writing was how compelling a storyteller he was. Let's take Howard's most famous character Conan as an example. The basic premise of a barbarian wandering around the world fighting fights and wenching wenches is one that lends itself to some pretty bad fiction. In fact, the number of miserable Conan pastiches that have been written is nigh-uncountable, and includes talented authors like L. Sprague DeCamp and Robert Jordan as well as talented editors like Lin Carter. Not one of these individuals managed to write a Conan-esque story worth reading, but Robert Howard did. His story Phoenix on the Sword is rich with detail and has a sprinkling of aesthetic theory thrown in for good measure. Robert Howard was a yarn spinner with a touch of word-smith, and rarely described thews as bulging.

Every June since 1986, die hard REH fans come from around the world to celebrate Howard Days. This event takes place in Howard's home town of Cross Plains, TX. Howard Days are a strange event where fans don't merely get together to read stories, watch movies, and attend panels. They also tour the small town of Cross Plains and tour the house where Howard lived, have stamps canceled at the post office he used, and have choreographed boxing matches behind a building he used to hone his pugilistic skills. It's a unique event, and one that demonstrates almost everything that is beautiful about fandom.

9) Hobbit Day

While Howard Days contain almost everything that is beautiful about fandom, there is one thing they lack. What they lack is an arcane discussion about how the days fall on June x and y, but only on the Hyborean calendar which needs to be updated to the Gregorian calendar thus making Howard Days fall on June z and aa. Hobbit Day has this discussion. In Lord of the Rings it is revealed that Frodo and Bilbo Baggins both celebrate their birthday on September 22...Shire Reckoning. This small detail, which adds a bit of verisimilitude to Tolkien's mythopoeia, provides a natural date for honoring Tolkien's masterpiece. Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday is a major affair in the books, and modeling this party as one celebrates Lord of the Rings seems perfectly natural. The only problem is figuring out when September 22nd Shire Reckoning is in the Gregorian Calendar. According to Boris Shapiro, this would be September 14th.

The best way to recognize Hobbit Day is to schedule the annual Tolkien Marathon of your choice for the day (either literary or film), eat second breakfast, walk around barefoot, and do other idle activities you imagine that a hobbit would do. One thing you must certainly avoid is adventure of any kind. While adventure is fine for oddities like Bilbo and Frodo, everyone knows that a good hobbit stays at home and enjoys a relaxing time with family and friends...just so long as the family isn't those damn Sackville-Baggins's.

10) Geek Pride Day

GeekPrideDay.jpg
Source Think Geek

The San Jose Mercury News may not think that real geeks celebrate Geek Pride Day, but this real geek certainly will. I'll admit that like the subjects in the Mercury News article, I hadn't heard of Geek Pride Day until I began doing research for a possible article discussing Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day's Tabletop Day (which might make the list next year), but once I read about the day I decided that it would become an annual tradition in my household.

The concept of having a Geek Pride Day originated in Spain and worked its way through the series of tubes filled with cats dropped from dumptrucks that is the Internets to become an event that is celebrated worldwide...or at least should be. May 25th is a day that connects with a number of geek obsessions. It is the day that Star Wars was released in theaters in 1977, it's Towel Day for fans of Douglas Adams, and it's the anniversary of the Glorious Revolution of the 25th of May in Discworld. It also marks the opening of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore and Mike Myers' birthday.

***

All of these holidays, with the exception of Howard Days which requires you to travel to Cross Plains, can be celebrated in the same ways:

  • a) Get a group of friends together.
  • b) Get a bunch of snacks.
  • c) Arrange for a big meal.
  • d) Watch a movie, read a story aloud, or play a game related to the day.
  • e) Have fun.

And that short list of ways to celebrate explains why every day of the calendar has something associated with it to celebrate. It's always a good time to get together with friends and hang out sharing the things we enjoy. Oh...and I forgot something from the list.

  • Send a tweet shout out to @wilw with hashtag #GeekingOut

Because nothing says you are a geek like seeking public acknowledgement from your peers.

Previously by Christian Lindke:

7 Reasons I, Frankenstein Is Like the Greatest RPG Campaign Ever GM'd
The 10 Best Superhero Role-Playing Games
From The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle to Dallas: 10 Strange Licensed RPGs
Ten Ways to Make a Dungeons & Dragons Movie Not Suck


More links from around the web!

 
Email Print