11

We all know that Hogwarts begins on the 1st September.

Is there a reason given that it's always the same date, leading to various days of the week? In 1991 and 1996 it was a Sunday!

I am a teacher in the UK and we tend to start around the 4th but it could be anything from 2nd to 6th.

Also, I know JK Rowling admits to being poor with maths, but I feel this is a deliberate choice and not a mistake. Is magic supposed to be involved?

22
  • 1
    @b_jonas This was inspired by the question on the content of the Hogwarts letters. In that feed there are quotes where in all books (or almost all) the letter reminds the reader that it starts on Sept 1st. – ThruGog Jul 2 '15 at 20:56
  • 2
    @Himarm The Potterverse - no doubt due in no small part to JKR's dodgy maths - seems to have a special calendar where the first of September is always a Sunday, so the students are ready to start a full week of classes the very next day. – Anthony Grist Jul 2 '15 at 21:03
  • 1
    @phantom42 Hogsmeade visits are only ever on weekends, and there are a couple of references to somebody being glad to reach the weekend, so I think they do. – alexwlchan Jul 3 '15 at 5:42
  • 2
    They do get week ends off: in OotP, Harry and Ron work on their homeworks and Hermione knits some hats. @MattGutting just no. Ever heard of leap years? They travel on September the 1st, and start term on the 2d. Which lead to only one contradiction: OotP (95), when 09.01 was a Friday. Now IIRC, they started the term on a Monday. It is possible that JKR ellipsed the first week end... It should be checked. – clem steredenn Jul 3 '15 at 6:13
  • 3
    @MattGutting 7 consecutive years do not guarantee a year (or a September) starting with each day of the week. That only happens if none of the 7 years is a leap year. – user14111 Aug 2 '15 at 13:54
7

I think except in some segments of the governing bodies of the witching world that witches and wizards are not exactly known as being well organized with fancy and shifting schedules. Just as J.K. Rowling has said she's not very good with the maths, I am will to bet it's just to make things simpler. No one needs to remember that this year we need to be at Kings cross on the 3rd, and next year it will be the 4th, unless of course it's a bank holiday. Which means the 6th.

Make it simple. Everyone...be at Kings cross on September 1st and that's the only date you really need to remember for when school starts.

7
  • I think this is probably the truth... but I want to hear JKR explain the part that doesn't really make sense! September 1st of his fifth year was a Friday, and they go to class the next day. – ThruGog Oct 3 '15 at 9:06
  • So how do you know that? Forgive me for asking but I am too lazy to figure it out myself. – Escoce Oct 3 '15 at 12:27
  • 1
    I Googled Sept 1st 1995 and re-read the book. Chapter 12. – ThruGog Oct 3 '15 at 13:55
  • Do we know it was 1995? I don't remember years being referenced. – Escoce Oct 3 '15 at 15:41
  • 1
    Yes, I forget which event makes it clear but it is canon that Harry's first year starts in Sept 1991 and therefore each book is its corresponding 1990s year. It's subtle but certain, and JKR is on record saying Harry was born in 1980 making him 11 in 1991, etc. – ThruGog Oct 3 '15 at 18:38
1

I believe that it's in order for the students. As the train, as we know, goes straight from King's Cross London to Hogsmeade (Obviously a fictional town, but placed in Scotland,) that's quite a journey. A train leaving from King's Cross going to Scotland takes about 8 and a half hours, so that takes us to about 5pm. We already know that they arrive around night, as each Start of Term assembly takes place at night, and in the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron show up at night and attempt to enter the Great Hall, but are caught for being late.

I therefore assume that teaching itself begins on the 2nd of September, or even the 3rd; students need time to unpack and adjust back to school, especially if they are new.

5
  • Well, we know they don't start classes on the day of arrival. The first night is the assigning for new students, at the very least. – phantom42 Jul 3 '15 at 13:41
  • 3
    I think you'll find they always have classes the very next day. – ThruGog Jul 3 '15 at 23:28
  • 3
    I think the question's main point is that it's always the SAME calendar date, not which specific date it is. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 4 '15 at 1:39
  • 1
    That is what I'm wondering. And I think you'll find they get to work the very next day every time. – ThruGog Jul 4 '15 at 19:31
  • 2
    The train leaves at 11 AM, so if it’s eight and a half hours to get to Scotland (which is guesswork at best—we don’t know how far north in Scotland Hogwarts is, and we don’t know how fast trains go), they won’t be getting there till 7:30 at night. But that seems too early, as well. When they arrive in Hogsmeade, it’s described as being completely dark, and the sun doesn’t set until around 8:15 PM on 1 September in Scotland, so it’s probably more like a nine-and-a-half hour train ride. (And a very late dinner, particularly for 11-year-olds!) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 2 '15 at 14:23
0

I think that with the ethnic cleansing theme of Harry Potter, that September 1 was chosen as the date the kids return to school because September 1 is also the date the Nazis invaded Poland, essentially starting WW2. Not that she is comparing Harry and Co to Nazis but Rowling is too smart to not have made that connection when choosing a significant date in a book series that leans heavily on racial purity and the execution of impure lineage.

1
  • 3
    This seems like pretty heavy speculation, can you provide any sources that suggest that was Rowling's thoughts. Given September 1st is around the time most UK schools would start again. – Edlothiad Sep 28 '19 at 8:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.