Towel Day is celebrated annually on 25 May as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams by his fans, an English author, scriptwriter, humorist, satirist and dramatist.
On this day, fans openly carry a towel with them, as described in Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author. It was also developed into a “trilogy” of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime.
The commemoration was first held on 25 May 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on 11 May.
Adams also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988) among other books and three stories for the television series Doctor Who; he also served as script editor for the show’s seventeenth season in 1979. He was an advocate for environmentalism and conservation.
Over the years, this has received recognition not only by Adams’ fans but by the media as well.
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote, “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
Today, as we remember the writer here are a few social media users and Adams’ fans who remember him on this day:
Towel on my shoulder, lilacs on my hat. Memories in my mind: the stories, the ideas, the humor, the characters.
— Don Luis (@AquiDonLuis) May 24, 2018
— Jon (@johng971) May 25, 2018
— Jenny Rollo (@DrJennyRollo) May 25, 2018
Fellow parent at school: Why do you have a towel?
Me: Because it’s the 25th of May.
Me: It’s towel day.
Me: A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.#TowelDay #DouglasAdams
— Robin Elizabeth (@RobinElizabee) May 25, 2018
I’m sitting by the pool sipping a Pan Galactic Gargleblaster in honour of #TowelDay. When I was a geeky teenager I memorised swathes of Hitchhikers Guide and quoted them at kids in my school who thought I was very weird. But on Twitter I have found my tribe 😀
— PintSizedFarmer (@PintSizedFarmer) May 25, 2018
— Ken McColl (@kenmccoll) May 25, 2018
Happy #TowelDay. Remember, whatever question you are posed with today, the answer is still 42.
— Cath, the Cornish Sorceress (@cathbarielle) May 25, 2018
A #TowelDay Thread:
Today is #TowelDay. As many of you will know, Douglas Adams was a striking influence on my writing for Making Man, so here are some of my favourite quotes from the great man and his work.
— MakingManBook.com (@MakingManBook) May 25, 2018