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Full Version: Sept 13, 2008 is Bilbo and Frodo's birthday
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Every year Tolkien fans around the world dutifully observe Bilbo and Frodo's birthday on September 22 -- which is the wrong day of the year, by Shire Reckoning.

Tolkien set up the Shire Calendar differently from our calendar, so when you crunch all the numbers and figure out the right conversion, you come down with a date of September 14 in our calendar for the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo.

Except this is a leap year, so you have to take one day back from the calculation to allow for our February 29 (the Shire Calendar has 30 days in all its months).

So that makes Saturday, September 13, 2008 the correct date on which to say, "Happy Birthday" to Bilbo and Frodo and remember that you're a Tolkien fan.

I said about as much on the Tolkien Studies blog Bilbo and Frodo birthday post where I provided some suggestions on how people can observe the day.

Of course, I doubt that September 22 in our calendar will ever quite fully lose its symbolic meaning for many fans, but one can only do so much to spread the word.
Happy birthday hobbits and everything else.
Michael Wrote:Every year Tolkien fans around the world dutifully observe Bilbo and Frodo's birthday on September 22 -- which is the wrong day of the year, by Shire Reckoning.
Maybe they just like celebrating Frodo and Bilbo, and are not interested in getting dates exactly correct.
Maybe indeed. But sometimes I would just like to see people pay closer attention to detail. That's just one of my hangups, I guess.
Michael Wrote:Every year Tolkien fans around the world dutifully observe Bilbo and Frodo's birthday on September 22 -- which is the wrong day of the year, by Shire Reckoning.
They are celebrating according to the King's Reckoning. Why does that bother you?
Happy birthday, Bilbo and Frodo. Where's my present?:poke:
Mordomin Wrote:They are celebrating according to the King's Reckoning. Why does that bother you?

Well, for one thing, September 22 in Kings Reckoning would be September 21 in our reckoning, so fans observing Kings Reckoning dates need to observe the birthday celebration a day earlier than usual (two days earlier in leap years).
So, is it Frodo that does not know his own birthday? Or is it Bilbo?

Because I would hate to be the one to break it to them that they do not, in fact, share a birthday.

What I am trying to say, in Peanuts fashion, is : "tell your calculator to shut up!"
Frodo and Bilbo know their birthdate: it falls on Shire Calendar September 22.

Anyway, people who are not ready to line up the dates on various calendars still have an opportunity to raise a toast to the hobbits, on Hobbit Day (September 22, in our calendar).
How do we know that Tolkien didn't already do the conversion for us, in which case September 22nd in our reckoning is correct?

Tolkien did after all go to great length to replace the original Westron names etc by more English sounding ones. In The Hobbit he even translated the original texts on the map into English but used runes to write them, to give us a bit of fine trying to decipher them. Same for the book of Marzabul. What I'm trying to say is that Tolkien translated a lot more than just the narrative.
shadowfax Wrote:How do we know that Tolkien didn't already do the conversion for us, in which case September 22nd in our reckoning is correct?

Because he wrote an entire appendix chapter on calendars, explaining how to do the conversion?

There are several references to the calendar system in the story's primary text. I'm pretty sure he was not translating the dates for the reader.
Michael Wrote:Because he wrote an entire appendix chapter on calendars, explaining how to do the conversion?

There are several references to the calendar system in the story's primary text. I'm pretty sure he was not translating the dates for the reader.

makes sense.

However (being the devil's advocate here again), Tolkien was a philologist not a mathematician. So there are plenty of phililological goodies buried in the narrative, things that he challenges the reader to work out with the hints that he provides. But was he challenging the readers to get out their calculators and do the date conversions? Maybe. I read somewhere that he took great care with his dates in terms of synchronising events properly and working out at what time the moon would have been in what phase etc.
He devoted a great amount of time to calculating phases of the moon and passing of the seasons, although I've read a few people have suggested he made some mistakes.