Most readers are familiar with World Book Day, Library Week, and National Poetry Month, but most aren’t as familiar with lesser known holidays like Jolabokaflod, Burns Supper, or Bloomsday. These literary holidays from around the world keep readers looking forward to book-centric gatherings all year round.
1. Jólabókaflóð – December 24
Image via Read It Forward
With Iceland publishing more books per capita than any other country with 5 titles per every 1,000 Icelanders, it’s no wonder that one of their most anticipated holidays is commonly known as the “Christmas Book Flood.” Kristjan B. Jonasson, President of the Iceland Publishers Association, said, “The culture of giving books as presents is very deeply rooted…we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading.” Books are mostly purchased from late September to early November, thus the name of the “book flood” when the books purchased are given as gifts.
2. Burns Supper – January 25
Image via Pluckemin Inn
This annual celebration of the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns brings not only Scots, but also Scots-at-heart together to celebrate his literary contributions. Most commonly celebrated with dinner and drinks, the holiday not only celebrates Burns, but also Scottish culture as a whole. Dinner usually consists of Haggis, a dish made of oats, spices, and sheep offal alongside potatoes and all topped off with a whiskey sauce.
Image via The Telegraph
3. Bloomsday – June 16
Image via NPR
One of the most recognized literary holidays, Bloomsday celebrates the events portrayed in James Joyce’s famous Dublin-based novel, Ulysses, along with the author himself. The day is celebrated with an assortment of activities ranging from walking tours to public readings across Dublin and around the world. On the Sunday before the 100th anniversary of the fiction events, 10,000 people in Dublin were treated to a free full Irish breakfast consisting of sausages, rashers, toast, beans, and puddings.
Image via Falvey Memorial Library Blog
4. National Tom Sawyer Days – July 4, 5, and 6
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The National Tom Sawyer Days take place in Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri with activities offered for all ages and all interested. It is celebrated every year with with a parade float, flea market, and carnival for children. Celebrated simultaneously with the Fourth of July, celebratory fireworks are set off over the Mississippi River.
Image via Visit Hannibal
5. Hemingway Days – July 16-21
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Hemingway Days are celebrated every year to revel in the legacy of Ernest Hemingway, his work, and his lifestyle. Celebrated with literary readings, theatrical premiers, short story competition, fishing tournament, 5K Run, the Running of the Bulls, Paddle board race, and rounding it all out with a birthday “party” to celebrate Hemingway’s birthday on the 21st. Hemingway Days are celebrated yearly in Key West, Florida, where Hemingway wrote some of his best-known works..
Image via Clarín
Featured image via Claddagh Design.