Mad Hatter Day, A Once Obscure Holiday… Is Still Pretty Obscure
Did you know that October 6 is Mad Hatter Day? If you are trying to figure out why, simply take a look at his hat.
10/6! Get it?! Of course, the actual 10/6 on the Hatter’s hat is just him trying to sell his wares. Hats in that style are 10 shillings and sixpence, you see. A man’s gotta make a living.
A History of Mad Hatter Day
Specifics about the origin of Mad Hatter Day are few. I came across many online articles stating that “computer folk” or “computer techies” or “techie geeks” in Boulder, Colorado created the idea in 1986 as an opportunity to act goofy for a day. And that’s it! No particulars about which company they worked for or how exactly they celebrate. This is one of the rare times the Internet has let me down, research-wise. If anyone would like to run to the Boulder library and pour over some 1986 microfiche, I’d appreciate it. Better yet, if someone has further knowledge about the Boulder brain trust that came up with Mad Hatter Day, please educate me in the Comments below. The other scant detail that kept popping up: Mad Hatter Day is celebrated in England on June 10. You know, because they write the day first, then the month! Whether Mad Hatter Day is actually a thing in Great Britain or if this is just an opportunity for some numerically based humor remains to be seen. I have reached out to the Lewis Carroll Society across the pond for clarification and wait with bated breath. In the meantime, let’s discuss the Hatter himself, shall we?
A History of the Mad Hatter Character
The Mad Hatter first appears in Chapter 7 A Mad Tea-Party of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He shows up again in Chapter 11 Who Stole the Tarts? as a particularly inept witness at the trial of the Knave of Hearts. Fun fact: Lewis Carroll never actually calls him a Mad Hatter. He is referred to simply as “Hatter” throughout Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and “Hatta” when he makes a cameo in its sequel Through the Looking Glass. Why have we added the “Mad” to his moniker over the years? Well, we know he is mad because the chapter is called A Mad Tea-Party. Also, Cheshire Cat (whose own sanity could be called into question) tells Alice outright that the Hatter is mad in the preceding chapter:
“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
Lastly, Mad Hatter just has a nice ring to it, I suppose. Another fun fact: despite all the Pinterest tips and mommy blogs telling you how to host a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the Mad Tea-Party is not actually hosted by the Hatter. It is at the March Hare’s house, a detail which I think is a shame to overlook, because the March Hare’s House is shaped like a March Hare and that is adorable:
She had not gone much farther before she came in sight of the house of the March Hare: she thought it must be the right house, because the chimneys were shaped like ears and the roof was thatched with fur.
Now that I have bored you to a pool of tears with minutiae from the book, you must be dying to break free and act silly! How do you plan to celebrate Mad Hatter Day? Making personal remarks to strangers? Asking riddles with no answers? Stuffing your best friend in a teapot? SO MANY OPTIONS. Of course, you could just wear a funny hat.