I was once again consulting with my incredibly official Hoops & Yo Yo calendar for October and lo & behold... October 6th is Mad Hatter Day. Are you an Alice in Wonderland fan? I have to confess here, I am not. I prefer Wizard of Oz although I'm honestly not super familiar with either one of them. Perhaps I should read the book and decide from there.
However - all of that aside, in honor of Mad Hatter Day, I hopped online and consulted with the mighty Wikipedia and learned the following facts:
1. The Hatter is a fictional character (in case anyone wasn't sure)
2. He is first encountered at a tea party in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and again as "Hatta" in the story's sequel, Through the Looking Glass.
3. He is never called "The Mad Hatter" in the book, the closest he comes is being called "mad" by the Cheshire Cat, displaying eccentric behavior and the chapter in which he first appears is titled "A Mad Tea-Party" (although it is often called "The Mad Hatter's Tea Party").
4. He has been portrayed on film by: Edward Everett Horton, Sir Robert Helpmann, Martin Short, Peter Cook, Anthony Newley, Ed Wynn and Johnny Depp. In music videos he has been portrayed by Tom Petty and Steven Tyler.
5. He was sentenced to death by the Queen of Hearts when he tried to sing for her and she accused him of "murdering the time." Apparently his vocality was not to her liking...
6. Out of anger at the Hatter's attempted murder of Time (referred to as "Him" in the book), Time has halted himself for the Hatter - keeping him and the March Hare at 6:00 forever.
7. Quoted directly from Wikipedia: The card (or label) on the Hatter's hat reads "In this style 10/6". "10/6" means ten shillings and six pence (or half a guinea), the price of a hat in the pre-decimalised British money and acts as a visual indication of the hatter's trade. (There were 20 shillings to the pound, 12 pence to a shilling...thus 10/6 = 126 pence.) With inflation analysis up to 1974, 126 pence equals about $23.83 in 1974 U.S. dollars, around $105 in October, 2008 spending power.
8. In Through The Looking Glass, he was named, along with the March Hare (Haigha), as one of the White King's two messengers (he apparently needed two - "one to come, and one to go").
9. The Mad Hatter asks his famous riddle "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" and apparently doesn't know the answer (this is in the chapter "A Mad Tea Party"). With so many inquiries into the answer, Caroll wrote a paragraph to it in the preface of the 1896 edition. Can you think of any possible answers to the riddle?
10. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat, a poem recited by the Mad Hatter, is a parody of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
So.. now that you know more about the Mad Hatter than you probably ever wanted to know, head out and do something in honor of his day. A non-birthday celebration, perhaps? A tea party? All in all a rather important day... just don't be late for your date!