Douglas Adams’ fans from across the universe, including aboard the International Space Station (ISS), are carrying their towels proudly today – in honor of the author’s iconic series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Every year on May 25 fans show what ‘hoppy froods’ they are by following the order “Hitchhiker grab your towel and don’t panic.”
Inhabitants of sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha your attention please. Today we celebrate #towelday Don’t forget your towel.
— Towel Day (@towelday) May 24, 2016
For those less familiar with the intergalactic holiday and its terminology, here’s a brief primer: a ‘hoppy frood’ is someone who is really together and “knows where his towel is.” Fans honor Towel Day by openly carrying a towel – or at least knowing where their towel is at all times.
“A towel… is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have,” Adams wrote in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or HG2G as it is known to many fans.
The towel can be used as a source of warmth, a distress signal, a way to ward off noxious fumes, a bed, a weapon in combat and “of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”
It seems even ISS astronauts agree on the pivotal role it plays while traveling through galaxies: Tim Peake showed off his “DON’T PANIC” towel while ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shared a video of her reading from the guide last year.
— Ri_Science (@Ri_Science) May 25, 2016
Back on the “mostly harmless” planet Earth, social media users are sharing tips on how to mark Towel Day in style.
— Ben Burchell (@PaleBlueDotBen) May 25, 2016
— Barn Owl Trust (@BarnOwlTrust) May 25, 2016
Towel Day originated on May 25, 2001, two weeks after Adams died of a heart attack at the age of 49. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery, the resting place of many famous figures including Karl Marx and George Elliot.
— Periwinkle Jones (@peachesanscream) May 25, 2016
A dedicated website as well as social media pages have been created to keep enthusiasts informed of events.
More than 100 gatherings have been organised in 32 countries, with Germany and Italy boasting the longest list of Towel Day get-togethers.
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. #TowelDay
— Stephen Mangan (@StephenMangan) May 25, 2016
— Dr Adam Rutherford (@AdamRutherford) May 25, 2016
— Scott Wooledge (@Clarknt67) May 25, 2016
— Kuddel ⛵ (@Nord_Seehund) May 25, 2016
And there’s more good news for ‘Hitchhiker’ fans as a real life ‘babel fish” device is set to hit stores in September.
Like the ‘babel fish” in the books, the system will allow the wearer to understand one of several foreign languages through real-time in-ear translation.
— Andrea Mann (@AndreaMann) May 25, 2016