Towel Day is celebrated every May 25 as a tribute by fans of the late author Douglas Adams. On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on May 11, 2001. The towel is a reference to Adams’s popular science fiction comedy series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
If you haven’t read the series, you have done yourself a disservice. It’s more than just science fiction, it’s satire, comedy and a rousing adventure all rolled into one. And the towel is just part of it.
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 vapors; 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-boggingly 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.
So grab your towel and remember, Don’t Panic.