2011 was the year of Tolkien in my household. My husband and I read the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series for the first time. Each night before bed, we would read out loud to one another (if truth be told, Matt did most of the reading)-- we'd have fun making up tunes to go along with the songs the characters sing, and we'd help each other try to piece together the more complicated bits of lore. (I am still not totally sure about Valinor!) We also purchased and watched all of the films, (some scenes multiple times--I can't get enough of the Shire), and the special features, like how they chose where to shoot on location, and a highlight on the brilliant performance by Andy Serkis, the guy who 'plays' Gollum. And now, there is talk between us that we'll continue on in 2012 by delving into The Silmarillion.
So it seems appropriate for me to wish a happy birthday to the man who created it all... And in my search to find a nice picture of Professor Tolkien to accompany this post, I discovered that there is a ritualistic toast that fans all around the world give to him on this day each year. Simple and sweet- and Matt and I will be raising our glass to him tonight... Here's what I read:
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892, in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now Free State Province, part of South Africa). If Tolkien was alive today he would celebrate his 120th birthday. And because he lives on in our hearts we do celebrate his birthday every year!
To celebrate Tolkien's birthday, each year Tolkien fans around the world are invited to raise a glass and toast the birthday of this much loved author 21:00 (9 pm) your local time.
The toast is "The Professor".For those unfamiliar with British toast-drinking ceremonies:
To make the Birthday Toast, you stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words "The Professor" before taking a sip (or swig, if that's more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink.
-Excerpt from the Tolkien Library website
Sounds easy enough, right? (I love the specificity of the directions!) Should you feel the urge to do more than the two-word toast for the author's 120th birthday, you may also visit the Tolkien Society website and leave a comment in his honor. He has, after all, left us with quite a lot!