To celebrate this wonderful day of Hobbits, let’s take a look and see where these adventurous folk came from! International Hobbit Day is meant to celebrate the works of writer J.R.R Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. These works are also the first mention of Hobbits by this name, but given Tolkien’s affinity for the myths of England and Scandinavia, they likely drew inspiration from one or more mythical creatures from these older works. Try as I might, I could not find a use of the term Hobbit or halfling prior to Tolkien’s work, but please feel free to share any findings in the comments.
The date for this most auspicious holiday was selected due to it being the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the main characters of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings respectively. For the uninitiated, Hobbits are short humanoid creatures with large, hairy feet and slightly pointed ears. They live in small dwellings in the countryside, often referred to as Hobbit holes. While similar to dwarves, Hobbits lack the stockiness of the dwarves and are wildly different in personality. Tolkien’s Hobbits are very friendly and welcoming, enjoying simple life inspired by rural English towns.
In other fantasy works, Hobbits are often renamed to halflings for various reasons, mostly legal. The term halfling originates from both the Scottish word hauflin which refers to a boy in their awkward early teens, and a German word, helbing, with roots meaning hobby. These stout folk were introduced into Dungeons and Dragons early on, published in the 1978 Players Handbook, and have remained in the game since then. Many other works of fantasy have included Hobbits or halflings under other names and roles.
So, to honor these wonderful, mythical folk, let’s have a feast, give some gifts, and go on an adventure!