On Long-Expected Parties

I fired up Opera this morning, looked at my own website, and there, in the sidebar, was the usual “this day in Middle-Earth” feature. And lots of things happened in Middle-Earth today.

A few years ago I wrote a BASIC program to convert Gregorian dates into Shire dates. No, I can’t tell you why — it seemed like a fun little project to work on, and one afternoon’s work later it was done. A few years later I took that BASIC program and rewrote it as PHP, and then turned it into a WordPress plug-in, and later a widget. Shire Reckoning has turned up on a number of WordPress-powered blogs.

Today is September 22nd, as Tolkien would put it, according to the Shire Calendar. To us, it’s merely September 12th — there’s a difference of roughly twelve days between our calendar and the Hobbits, the Hobbit calendar being based around June 21st and the summer solstice, and Hobbit months aren’t at all the same length as our months.

September 22nd. Halimath, really. Things start happening.

  • On this day in 1401 SR, Bilbo holds his Long-Expected Party and vanishes from Hobbiton.
  • On this day in 1418 SR, the Black Riders reach Sarn Ford at evening; they drive off the guard of Rangers. Gandalf overtakes Shadowfax.
  • On this day in 1421 SR, Frodo and Samwise meet the Last Riding of the Keepers of the Rings in the Woody End.
  • On this day in 1482 SR, Master Samwise Gamgee rides out from Bag End. He comes to the Tower Hills, and is last seen by Elanor, to whom he gives the Red Book afterwards kept by the Fairbairns. Among them the tradition is handed down from Elanor that Samwise passed the Towers, and went to the Grey Havens, and passed over the Sea, last of the Ring-Bearers.

Wait! September 22nd? Why, today is Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday!

Cue up the music! Light some fireworks. Drink lots of ale and smoke some pipeweed! :)

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