Way back when, author Lewis Carrol thrilled the world with his tales of Alice In Wonderland. The children’s book has spawned untold numbers of movies, television shows, comic books, merchandise, and now a massive internet presence. Of all the wacky characters depicted in the imaginative tome, that of the Mad Hatter stands out.
The Mad Hatter is based on a problem that arose in the 1800’s when hat companies actually used lead in the hat making process. The lead got into their systems and they went insane, hence the term “mad as a hatter”. Carrol took this and created the funny looking character with a huge top hat with the numbers 10/6 on a tag stuffed in his hat’s headband. Those numbers 10/6 has been turned into a celebration called Mad Hatter Day that occurs on October 6 of the calendar year.
The day has its own tradition of basically having people act, well, silly as they can be. This can range from wearing absurd costumes to playing practical jokes, to engaging in outrageous banter with passers-by. People who participate have a variety of methods of acting silly so the sky’s the limit.
The holiday began in Boulder, Colorado in 1986. A group of computer nerds figured it would be a cool holiday and soon the fun spread to where today, in some areas, it is indeed a celebrated holiday! Made Hatter day was first recognized as an official holiday in 1988 and was the first year it received a national press coverage!
Celebrating the day can involve a lot of combinations of activities, dress, and foods. Since the Hatter is depicted having a constant tea party going on with the eccentric characters of Wonderland, you can celebrate by having the wildest tea party ever. You can go to local tea houses where they spotlight special and exotic blends and invite friends and family over and serve up the blends. You can dress up in costume, make baked goods and snacks that are decorated with Wonderland themes.
You can dress up your dog or cat as a Wonderland character and give your neighbors some well deserved giggles. Take the pet to a public area and watch people gawk and stare and wonder whether you’ve lost your mind just like the Mad Hatter.
If you work with fun people on the job, it would be a fun way to bond by adding a Mad Hatter theme to your daily routine. Customers might be taken aback by the whimsy, but it would bring some smiles to faces and create additional amity among all.
Schools can join in on the fun as well. Matter of fact, Lewis Carrol’s works are classic English literature. Having a Mad Hatter day for the English classes, featuring costumes, commentary of the day when the book was published, should raise the student’s awareness of the value of well written and imaginative English literature. It need not be limited to just English classes, the whole school could pitch in for additional fun.
Although Mad Hatter Day isn’t a nationally recognized holiday, it doesn’t stop people from celebrating in their own way. For over 100 years now, Lewis Carrol’s epic and ground-breaking fantasy work has captured the imaginations of 100’s of millions, changed our language, art, and more.
Mad Hatter Day is just one way of tipping the hat to a genuine classic.