Instant Happiness: Finding ‘hobbitiness’ every day of the year
“ I have found that it is the small everyday deed of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
There is not really a ‘bad day’ to be a hobbit, just like there is no ‘bad weather’ only ‘bad clothing’. Even in the darkest, coldest, and wettest months, it is possible to find happiness in the simple things of hobbit life. It will not come as a surprise that hobbits spend most of winter indoors, all cozy and snuggled into their little burrows, but you will see them around as soon as a ray of sunshine breaks through the gray sky. In springtime and summertime hobbits will be outdoors as much as possible, close to nature and their land. So each season brings its own different kind of ‘happiness’. Warm and cozy in winter and autumn, and fresh, joyful, and sunny in summer and spring. Here is a selection of ‘happy’ hobbit activities throughout the year.
AFTERYULE (January) : STORY NIGHT
This time of the year is the perfect time to relax with family and friends and have a ‘story night’ Each hobbit will bring a snack or ten, and sit on the rug by the fireplace, as the chosen story-teller sits in a comfortable chair. The story he will tell is probably old and has been told many times before, but it doesn’t matter much, old stories are like old friends, you have to visit them again every now and then to discover how much they mean to you.
SOLMATH (February) : BUILD A SNOWMAN
While the winter months are mostly spent indoors, some limited outdoors activities are still taking place, one of them is of course the building of snowmen, and the always fun ‘snowball fight’ challenge. The view of the hills of the Shire covered in snow is stunning, the air is pure and crisp, the cheeks and noses on hobbit faces look like red apples. The magic of hobbit happiness is to build a snowman and hit Bolgo Boffin in the back of his head with a huge snowball and claim victory...but it is also in the going back indoors, tired and cold from a day on the snow, wet and messy-haired, wearing the ugliest woolen socks, and relax with hot tea or brandy in shared silence by the fireplace.
RETHE (March) : THEME MONTH
This is a rather fun activity hobbits sometimes do just as the promise of spring is in the air. This month of the year is often wet and still cold, so nothing better than choosing one of the other races of Middle-earth at random, and have a whole month of fun, dressing up and learning about their traditions. So on the Elven Theme, hobbits will pretend to be elves, and have lots of sun wearing fancy hand-made elven gowns and tunics and wigs, and will go around looking all ‘elvish’ and saying “Salad Mellon” to everyone one they meet. On the Dwarven Theme, they will wear fake beards and sing songs about the Misty Mountains and treasures lost and dragons, and they will inevitably get drunk and end up snoring under tables. And on Men Theme, hobbits will just...well not be very nice to each other, and sometime one hobbit will climb on the shoulder on a friend and wear a long coat and pretend to be 6ft tall - it is no surprise that of all themes, Men Theme is the less favorite among hobbits.
ASTRON ( April) : COOKING OVER AN OPEN FIRE
Weather-wise it may be still a bit brisk, but Astron is a wonderful month to start adventuring outside the home and go hiking, and camping under the stars, as long as you remember to pack those very ugly but lovely warm woolen socks ( for extra added happiness and warmth). What is wonderful about going camping in Astron is that because of the fresh air still lingering around there will be fewer issues with flies and other creepy crawlies and insects. It is always dangerous business to step out of the door for the first time in amany months, but when you are out, the heart will steady, worries will fade away and melt like snow in the sun. Hiking and camping at this time of the year means taking things slow,being together with friends, in a simple and uncomplicated way. Gather wood, build a fire, prepare some lovely food and watch it cook slowly, and enjoy the after-dinner brandy with your friends under the beauty of the stars.
THRIMIDGE (May) : A CABIN IN THE WOODS
By now the days are getting longer, so this is really the time to start making the most of life in the great outdoors. Remember that old rustic cabin in the forest ? There is nothing more ‘happy’ than that. A little fireplace, a pipe, maybe a good book in case of a rainy afternoon. This is the time to do it, just get out and go to the cabin in the woods and enjoy what nature has to offer. Roast some freshly-caught trout on a fire, thank goodness you are a hobbit, standing there among the trees and spring blossom, with a full belly and a lovely mug of ale in your hand.
FORELITHE/LITHE (June) : STRAWBERRY JAM AND MIDSUMMER DAY
Forelithe is the perfect time to harvest the sweetest strawberries and make jam, there is nothing more ‘hobbity’ and happiness than that. Just close your eyes and imagine a lovely thick slice of warm bread, freshly baked, covered in butter and strawberry jam you just made. The scent of the fruit hit your hobbit nose and as you bite into it, the taste makes all your senses tingle. Yes my friends, there is nothing in this word that tastes more heavenly than hobbit strawberries and jam. On the 22nd day of this month hobbits celebrate Midsummer Day. A traditional day for a hobbit wedding. Grab a friend and a light a bonfire, have some ale and sing and dance around it, and maybe have an egg-and-spoon race, or a ‘roll-the-hobbit’ challenge, where the roundest hobbits are rolled down the side of a hill like wheels of cheese, the last one down will pay for drinks at the Green Dragon.
AFTERLITHE (July) : SUMMER PICNIC
Time to enjoy nature in all her splendor. The weather is warm, the evening long. This is the perfect time of the year for a picnic by the pond, or in a glade, or on the Hill. The choice is yours, just get out of town. Invite your family, and your friends, neighbours, and everyone you come across, tall, short, bearded or not. Tell everyone to bring some food and some drink and share it. There is happiness in ‘sharing’ things, food, drink, a picnic, song, dance, and friends.The more we share, the more we will get and have’
WEDMATH (August) : A NIGHT WITH THE STARS
Bring a blanket for a night under the stars. This is a hobbit favorite - I do believe every time a hobbit passes away they become a star, so for me stargazing is like a family reunion. I give the stars hobbit names and talk to them about life. If you are lucky you will see shooting stars, and if you do then make a wish for something you really really want. There are many beautiful tales about stars, and this is the right time to share them. There is a kind melancholic beauty in the stars, you feel small and insignificant in their presence, and yet you know that somehow you are part of their world, so you are not only looking at the stars, you are one. And in the words of the Great Bard himself :
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach.”
HALIMATH (September) : MUSHROOMS FORAGING, AND MORE MUSHROOMS
Is there a sweetest and more beautiful word than ‘mushroom’ ? I don’t think so. Autumn is when mushrooms appear, and in all honesty there is NO better tasting food that can be grown, or foraged yourself so the ‘ hobbit happiness ‘ is strong with this one. Grab a basket, take a friend and head for the forest, you will not be disappointed. Mushrooms taste like the Shire, they smell like hobbits, they are just the best our land has to offer. There is only one word, and that is MUSHROOM
Advice from a MUSHROOM : Be down to earth - Sprout new ideas - Keep a low profile - Know when to show up - Stay well rounded - Start from the ground up - Be a good mushroom.
Warning: Eating the wrong mushrooms can be dangerous, so make sure you stop at Maggot’s farm and ask for his advice on your mushroomy harvest. He will be able to tell you if what you have is safe to eat.
WINTERFILTH (October) : CHESTNUTS AND MITTENS
It’s finally here! Chestnut season, hobbit rejoice. Chestnut hunting is on, so get your wooly scarf and mittens and go out there. Get those edible ones, then go back home and roast them on the open fire until they are tender inside, peel them and enjoy the best Autumn in the Shire is all about. Hobbits use chestnut extract to make ink, so next time you read a book written by a hobbit, spare a thought for the humble chestnut without which there would be ink.
BLOTHMATH (November) :LIFE IS A PUMPKIN
By now you know winter is coming. It is time to harvest pumpkins and head back indoors and make lovely thighs like...soup, and challenge your friends to see who can cook the bestest and more tastiest soup in the world. Other activities this month include pumpkin carving, and then of course there is the ‘BIG PUMPKIN’ competition, in which hobbit farmers battle against each other to see who was able to grow the ‘biggest one’. The award ceremony is held at the Green Dragon in Bywater, where the winning pumpkin and hobbit farmer are awarded a well deserved prize called The GOURD - it is not unusual for the ceremony to run into the small hours as the winning farmer’s ‘thank you’ speech does often include half of the Shire.
FOREYULE/YULE (December) : CANDLES, BERRIES, AND LOVE
This is ‘hobbit happiness’ high season. There can never be enough candles at this time of the year. Cakes and all things sweet are in great demand on the hobbit table as the Midwinter celebration begins. Warm spiced wine, honey mead, and brandy are consumed in great quantities. Traditional winter food is cooked and shared in the warmth of the hobbit home. As this is such an important time of the year, I shall dedicate a future chapter of this book to it, so for now, just imagine a hobbit home decorated with evergreens and red berries, beeswax candles glowing everywhere, and hobbits eating and making merry around a table laden with food, the real essence and meaning of ‘hobbit happiness’ is good food, togetherness, and above all…..love.
Photo courtesy of Hobbiton Tours NZ which retain Copyrights of this image - Edits by me