Happy International Geek Pride Day!
Everyone has a thing that they geek out about– whether it be comic books, boardgames, or the more traditional alliances towards Star Trek and Star Wars. Actor Simon Pegg, who’s had the distinction of appearing in both iconic franchises, once said “being a geek is extremely liberating” and that “it’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult.” To honor this proud emoting, May 25th has been deemed Geek Pride Day worldwide.
This includes social media celebrations, as well as more personal events, like parades and festivals that have spread like wildfire across the globe. To learn more about Geek Pride Day, and how you can participate, get your lightsabers (or phasers) ready and check out these five fast facts.
1. Geek Pride Day Became An Official Celebration In 2008
The origins of Geek Pride events date back to the 1990s, when Tim McEachern organized events called Geek Pride Festivals in New York. This only lasted a few years, however, and it was until 2006 when Spanish blogger Germán Martínez decreed May 25th to be Geek Pride Day (or, in native tongue, “Dia del Orgullo Friki”). The online event drew attention from the media, and by 2008, it had grown so popular that it became an official celebration in the United States.
According to DaysoftheYear.com, the newly minted celebration came with a basic list of rights and responsibilities to become a proper geek, which included “the right to not like football or any other sport” or “the right to not be in-style,” and responsibilities like “Attend every geeky movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else.” They are in jest, of course, and only add to the fun-loving spirit of the geek celebration.
2. The Date Was Chosen In Honor of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’
There’s no ignoring the colossal impact that Star Wars has left on pop culture. Since its premiere in 1977, the science fiction franchise has all but redefined what it means to be recognized as a “geek.” In a peace for NY Magazine in 2006, reporter Adam Sternbergh writes that “Unlike Star Trek, Star Wars crossed over immediately to the masses—nerds and civilians braided together in lines that curled around the block.” He added that the film and its subsequent (seemingly infinite) sequels “weren’t created for nerds– rather, they created nerds.”
It is then fitting that Geek Pride Day was selected to be on May 25th, the exact same day that Star Wars— retroactively subtitled A New Hope— premiered in theaters. This was intentionally done by Martínez. 2017 marks an especially important year for the celebration, as it marks the 40th anniversary of the film’s premiere. For Heavy’s official ranking of the Star Wars franchise, check out the list below.
3. May 25th Is Also Known As “Towel Day”
According to Time magazine, May 25th bears more than one important connection to science fiction. It is commonly celebrated as “Towel Day” by some fans– a nod to author Douglas Adams and his seminal radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Throughout the series (and its accompanying book), Adams discusses the significance of the towel and its many uses throughout the galaxy, writing:
“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 vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon… More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) 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.”
As a result, May 25th enables fans to get in on the Hitchhiker fun by carrying a towel with them throughout the day. This practice was started by an online user named “Clyde” in 2001, who sought to honor Adams in the aftermath of his death earlier that year: “Douglas Adams will be missed by his fans worldwide. So that all his fans everywhere can pay tribute to this genius, I propose that two weeks after his passing (May 25, 2001) be marked as “Towel Day.” All Douglas Adams fans are encouraged to carry a towel with them for the day.” Read the original post here.
Delving even deeper into the science fiction mythos, today also marks The Glorious 25th of May, which is in reference to author Terry Pratchett and his beloved Discwatch series. It is the date of a revolutionary battle in the installment titled Night Watch (2002), where the survivors wear lilac flowers to commemorate their fallen comrades. According to The Daily Dot, fans had typically taken this as a tongue-in-cheek tradition, but after Pratchett’s death in 2015, has taken on “a more poignant significance.”
4. Geek Pride Day Has Led to Festivals All Over the World
Geek Pride Day has always been a global phenomenon. In 2006, over 300 Madrid citizens came together to create a human Pac-Man, and in the years since, the planning and scope of these events have only grown. Starting in 2010, festivals that celebrated geekdom spread to places as varied as Nova Scotia, New York, Budapest, Romania, Israel and California.
In 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden, decided to take things to a whole new level when they held the first ever Geek Pride parade. Science Fiction Bokhandeln, who organized the parade, posted a description of the event on their Facebook page, writing: “A geek parade in the city is in order, and all geeks and cosplayers are invited as well to follow our Sith, the stormtroopers in shiny armor and the dirty rebels! It will be a fun troop with lots of photo opportunities, lots of geeks and lots of sun hopefully.” The parade proved such a hit with the community that it has since become an annual tradition for Gothenburg. Check out the details for today’s parade right here.
5. Geekzonia Is Hosting Geek Pride Events Online
Fortunately, for those who are unable to attend these festivals, Geekzonia is offering multiple events throughout the day online, ensuring that you can still meet and discuss with fellow geeks from all around the world. Aside from the Star Wars celebrations and the Douglas Adams tributes, fans can also expect a myriad of activities, as is listed on their website:
- Guest Talks
- Quiz Shows
- Dramatic Reenactments
- Fan Meetups
- Avatar Competitions
You will need to download the Geekzonia Launcher to participate, which comes free of charge. The designated times for these events will be added to the website throughout the day, and can be checked here. For additional social media interaction, keep an eye out for the Twitter trends #GeekPrideDay and #TowelDay.