Towel Day > General Towel Day Discussion

What is Towel Day?

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In a nutshell: Carry a towel with you all day on May 25th in memory of Douglas Adams.

The more verbose version:

In the initial days after the death of Douglas Adams (May 11th, 2001), most fans were stunned and waywardly groping for something indeterminate.  We didn't know what it might be, or what it might look or sound like, but it had to be something.  After all, DNA couldn't just die and that be the end of it.  Proposals were discussed, and when the idea of Towel Day surfaced, we knew we had found it.  We would carry a towel with us, conspicuously visible, all day long on May 25th no matter where we went. 

Feeling somewhat wounded, we relished the potential for strange looks, public humiliation, risk of job termination, school expulsion, strag derision.  Let them scoff - we had lost someone special.  And maybe we could enlighten a few of the curious who took the time to ask us why we had towels.

The first Towel Day ended up being rather successful, and rather than fade as we feared it might, it caught on and grew in popularity.  In time, people took to posting Towel Day pictures on the internet at the encouragement of people like Father Kojv (another sad loss Nov. 15th 2008).

If you are uncertain of the significance of the towel, I suggest (very strongly, because you are in for a treat) that you read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (a trilogy in five parts).  You can also read the top post in the "Uses of a towel" thread.

Certainly the first Towel Day was more mournful, and I think Towel Day has grown into much more of a festive celebration.  From messages previously viewable at kojv's site, I can tell you that it has come to mean different things to different people.

And in that light, I will step aside and allow others to tell us just what Towel Day means to them...

Grate Oracle Lewot:
Well, the way I see it, it is a day honoring life and works of DNA, so it is at once mournful and festive. We are sad that he's gone, and before he should have been at that, but we're still celebrating how amazing, amusing, interesting, and hilarious his life and works were and are. For most of us, when we first experienced the Guide (whether it was the radio show, the books, or whatever that we found first), it changed us--some people in a big way, others in a smaller one, but always for the better. It was a special feeling, and we want to acknowledge that fact by remembering the person who made us feel that way. Most of us never got to meet him in person, and while we probably didn't expect to, there was at least a chance of it whilst he was still around, so now that he's gone, I think we need to tell other people what he meant to us since we can't tell him anymore. It's just wrong for the memory of someone special to die with him.

Most of that is from my personal experience, but I used "we" because I assume that other people have similar thoughts, otherwise they wouldn't be carrying the towel. For me personally, there's also a little bit of . . . how can I say this? I'm a very inhibited person, so Towel Day is really the only day of the year when I put aside my inhibitions. It's a nice feeling.

There's little for me to add to both of your eloquent pieces except to say that Towel Day unites DNA fans all over the world. Maybe it won't bring about world peace, but it sure as heck can't hurt.   :D

Here is a well done video created for a Canadian TV show last year (in a mix of English and French).  It offers an explanation of what Towel Day is and how to participate.  (approx 6 minutes)

That's cool! I like the towel snail and towel elephant.  Cute! That's the towel origami right? Hmm, maybe we'll try that.


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