May 25 is a very important holiday in the land of the literary nerds, a day which honors the ancient intergalactic tradition of carrying a towel everywhere you go. Towel Day is a not-entirely-official holiday established in remembrance of the great author Douglas Adams, creator of the beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide is presented as a book within a book, a literal guide utilized by the characters to survive a trip through space as a stowaway on alien ships. The most important rules of the Guide include, “don’t panic,” and, “always carry a towel.” A towel is said to be the most useful thing one can pack on a trip, and it also signals to other travelers that you are a well-prepared, seasoned hitchhiker who is not to be messed with.
Towel Day was established in 2001, after Adams’ death, as a way to celebrate the legacy of his stories. All around the world, groups of devoted towel-carrying folk will gather to participate in activities like costume contests, Vogon poetry slams and space drink mixing competitions. People get really into it. One candy shop in Florida is even making special candies that depict the Babel Fish, one of the strange creatures encountered by interstellar visitors in the books.
Even if you choose not to celebrate, it’s still very good advice to carry a towel with you at all times, because you never know what may happen.