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Every fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy probably knows of Towel Day. But why is it on May 25th and not on another day? Does anyone know?

52

It was proposed by someone online (probably D. Clyde Williamson)

A person going by the name of Clyde posted this on a forum called System Toolbox shortly after the death of Douglas Adams (Monday May 14, 2001, specifically):

Friday morning I went to breakfast at Big Boy's (mmmm, Breakfast Bar); oddly enough, we sat in booth "42" and had a good laugh about it being the answer to "Life, The Universe and Everything". Later that day, headlines flashed the news that Douglas Adams, creator of the longest trilogy in history, had died. I was stunned; it was remnicient of the loss I felt when Jim Henson died. 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.

Make sure that the towel is conspicous- use it as a talking point to encourage those who have never read the Hitchhiker's Guide to go pick up a copy. Wrap it around your head, use it as a weapon, soak it in nutrients- whatever you want!

Most minds in the universe are constrained to the laws of Physics; let us remember those that broke the law and got away with it.

So long Douglas, and thanks for all the fish!

This is almost certainly the earliest proposal for Towel Day, coming as it does several days after Adams' death.

The Wikipedia article on the holiday suggests that the user "Clyde" is D. Clyde Williamson, though how accurate this is I do not know.

The FAQ on the Towel Day website suggests that time was needed to spread the word about the holiday:

Because some time was needed to get the word out, Towel Day was organized two weeks after Douglas Adams' untimely death, on 25 May 2001.

In any case, the main reason for choosing May 25 seems to be that it was a whole number of weeks after Adams died, but sufficiently long thereafter to allow people to spread the word.

  • Why two weeks, though? – John Sensebe May 11 '16 at 13:45
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    @JohnSensebe Probably to give people enough time to get the word out/organize something but not so long that people lose interest/forget why they are doing it. – Pants May 11 '16 at 14:48
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    Because 14 = ⅓×42?  Because two weeks = (eight weeks)-(six weeks)? – Peregrine Rook May 11 '16 at 20:59
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    @JohnSensebe You're asking for a sane reason from Hitchhiker fans? I submit you've missed the point. – jpmc26 May 12 '16 at 3:12
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    Stop downvoting just because you like the number 42.... – Adamant May 13 '16 at 5:20
30

The 25th of May 2001 was the first Towel Day and was 2 weeks after the passing of Douglas Adams.

It was suggested by a user Clyde on the open source forum System Toolbox in the following manner:

Towel Day: A Tribute to Douglas Adams

Monday 14 May 2001 06:00am PDT

Clyde ponders the passing of an incredible mind and proposes a "Towel Day" in tribute.

Friday morning I went to breakfast at Big Boy's (mmmm, Breakfast Bar); oddly enough, we sat in booth "42" and had a good laugh about it being the answer to "Life, The Universe and Everything". Later that day, headlines flashed the news that Douglas Adams, creator of the longest trilogy in history, had died. I was stunned; it was remnicient of the loss I felt when Jim Henson died.

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.

Make sure that the towel is conspicous- use it as a talking point to encourage those who have never read the Hitchhiker's Guide to go pick up a copy. Wrap it around your head, use it as a weapon, soak it in nutrients- whatever you want!

Most minds in the universe are constrained to the laws of Physics; let us remember those that broke the law and got away with it.

So long Douglas, and thanks for all the fish!

Found from the wikipedia article on Towel Day

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