Towel Day was first held on May 25, 2001. The day was a recommendation made on May 14, 2001 by D Clyde Williamson on a blog called “Binary Freedom” three days after Douglas Adams’ passing on May 11. Don Adams was the author of the book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Chapter 3 explains the significance of towels:
“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
How to Celebrate
Celebration of Towel Day is done by carrying a towel with you everywhere, all day. You may feel like Linus from Peanuts, however, the purpose is to show appreciation to author Douglas Adams and his books, most notably The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Now, if you see anyone with a towel today, you’ll know why. And you can say “There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.”
To celebrate this day, we selected the 1992 Guarana Brahma Can with a beach scene. On it we see a palm tree, a surfer running with his surfboard, a woman lounging in a beach chair, and another woman sitting on a beach towel.
Happy Towel Day (5/25)!
Photos used by permission of CanMuseum.com