Happy Towel Day: Douglas Adams remembered across the world

Adam Parris-Long

‘Froods’ are celebrating Towel Day across the globe to remember the work of the late British author Douglas Adams.

Fans of Adams’ cult series of novels ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ will be marking the day by keeping a towel close to hand at all times.


The quirky annual event first started on May 25, 2001, two weeks after Adams died of a heart attack.
His death was widely mourned, and his series of five Hitchhiker’s novels (known commonly as "HHGTTG" to fans) have now comfortably topped more than 15 million sales worldwide.

Although Adams’ guide to the galaxy gives hitchhikers a plethora of tips on what to take with them on their inter-galactic travels, he gives specific mention to the towel as the “most massively useful thing”.

He writes the towel can be used for warmth, for hand-to-hand combat and as a sail.

The book reads: “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 clearly a man to be reckoned with."


[Related Article: Everything you need to know about Hitchhiker's, the movie]




Fans of the books, who refer to themselves as ‘froods’ [Adams’ definition of a frood in HHGTTG  is “a really amazingly together guy”], have since adopted towels as a symbol of the writer’s life and work.

Froods are also encouraged to hang flags emblazoned with the words ‘DON’T PANIC’, a phrase that featured on the Hitchhiker’s… front cover as a reminder to “keep intergalactic travelers from panicking”.

Those marking the day will also be inclined to answer every question with ‘42’, which in the novel was "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”.

Brilliantly bizarre, Adams’ books have captured imaginations across the globe. From the hapless Arthur Dent to playboy galactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox, the series charts a wide array of intelligent [and not so intelligent] life, on an endless journey across the galaxy.

‘"HHGTTG" first saw light of day as a BBC radio programme in 1978, with its popularity prompting Douglas Adams to write “a trilogy of five books”.

Subsequent TV and film adaptations have hit the screens, with a star-studded 2005 movie featuring the likes of Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel and John Malkovich introducing ‘"HHGTTG" to a new generation.

Click here for more details on Towel Day events.