02 January 2016

The birthday of "The Leper Priest" and of "The Professor"

Tomorrow marks the birthdays of two of my favorite people, Saint Joseph Damien de Veuster (b. 1840), the Belgian priest who heroically ministered to the patients in Hawaii suffering from leprosy, and John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (b. 1892), the celebrated author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, among other noteworthy achievements.

Though I am unaware of any celebrations marking birth of Father Damien (mostly because the Church generally celebrates the anniversaries of the deaths of her saints, their birthdays into eternal life [April 15, 1889], the Church honors Father Damien on May 10, the day he first arrived at Kalaupapa), the Tolkien Society invites us to join in the Tolkien Birthday Toast.

The celebration itself is quite simple and anyone can participate, as the Tolkien Society explains:
After Bilbo left the Shire on his eleventy-first birthday in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo toasted his uncle’s birthday each year on 22 September.

J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein on 3 January 1892, and we invite you to celebrate the birthday of this much loved author by raising a glass at 9pm your local time.

The toast is simply:
The Professor!
All you need to do is stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words “The Professor” before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink.
This year marks Tolkien's 124th birthday.

If you participate (which I intend to do, though I'm not yet sure where), be sure to your celebration on social media using #TolkienBirthdayToast. There used to be a smial of the Tolkien Society here in Honolulu, but I am not sure if it still meets, though I hope to find out.

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