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What is Mad Hatter Day?

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Gia R.

Staff Writer

Gia R. is from Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated with two business degrees. While studying, her short nonfiction story was published in 2018 in Write On, Downtown, an ASU journal. Since then, she taught preschool students abroad. Now back in AZ, you’ll find her writing, reading, and adoring digital art.

If you clicked on this link, you either want to know more about the Mad Hatter or you want ideas on how to celebrate this fun day! Good thing I have both for you. Mad Hatter Day is just one of many bookish holidays. There are too many to count! If you’re interested in other bookish holidays, you can find some in another Book Riot article, 10 of the Best Bookish Holidays and How to Celebrate Them. In that article, there is a short intro to Mad Hatter Day.

This holiday appears to be a favorite due to the popularity of the Alice In Wonderland movies and books. I’m sure you may know a few things about this holiday already, but I hope I can surprise you with a little bit of history. Whether you’re a fan of the Mad Hatter or you just really like a good top hat, most people can find something to like about Mad Hatter Day. But first…what is Mad Hatter Day?

What is Mad Hatter Day?

It’s a day to celebrate the special character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter is actually never called the Mad Hatter in the book. Some say that Carroll based the character on Theophilus Carter, a peculiar furniture dealer in England. It is rumored that he created the Alarm Clock Bed, a bed that wakes up the sleeper by pushing them into cold water, which was shown at the 1851 Great Exhibition. In the book, the character is referred to as “the Hatter.” He is a curious and quirky person who throws a tea party with his friend, the March Hare.

John Tenniel's illustration of the Mad Tea Party
John Tenniel’s illustration of The Mad Tea Party, 1865. (Public Domain)

How Did This Holiday Come To Be?

It was started by several computer programmers in Colorado back in 1986. This group asked for a day to recognize the Mad Hatter after seeing John Tenniel’s illustration of the character (above). John Tenniel, a political cartoonist, drew the Mad Hatter with the famous 10/6 on his hat. This stood for the cost of a hat, which was 10 shillings and 6 pence. The date also comes from this number. For those in the United States who write dates with the month first and then the day, the holiday is celebrated on 10/6 or October 6th. In other places like Europe and Asia, dates are written with the day first and then the month. This means they celebrate this fabulous day on 6/10 or June 10th. Dates aside, once the day is near, how do we celebrate it?

How to Celebrate Mad Hatter Day

There are so many ways to have fun on this holiday. I’m sure many of you already have a few ideas. The first that come to mind are to read the book and watch all the different movie adaptations, but here are some other ways to recognize this iconic character.

  • Be silly.
  • Wear fun hats.
  • Make your own hat.
  • Look for a local theater performing the play.
  • Listen to the audiobook.
  • Consider playing a few pranks.
  • Draw your own illustration of the Mad Hatter Tea Party.
  • Throw a tea party.
  • Throw an unbirthday party with all your friends.
  • Create fun riddles that can (or cannot) be solved.
  • Read or write a silly poem.

For more options in the general category of being silly, try these:

  • Pick two different types of food and try to combine them.
  • Thrift a unique outfit and wear it out.
  • Sing solo or with friends at karaoke (do a dance, too!).
  • Move your furniture around, putting things in an unpredictable location.
  • Gather a group of friends and get family photos taken at a department store.

Whatever you do on Mad Hatter Day, we hope you have some silly adventures!

And for even more bookish holiday traditions, try these Easy Bookish Traditions to Start this Holiday Season.