International Harry Potter Day: How Fans Around the World Are Celebrating

When J. K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone in 1990, she probably didn’t expect it to become the worldwide phenomenon that it is. Now, 30 years later, fans around the globe are still pulling out their wands to celebrate the franchise on International Harry Potter Day. 

Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe | Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

What is International Harry Potter Day?

Every year, on May 2, people all over the world honor Rowling’s book series by celebrating International Harry Potter Day. The tradition began in 2012 when British Prime Minister David Cameron officially designated the day. 

“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ms. Rowling’s work has had a huge and undeniable impact on the literary world as we know it,” Cameron said in his 2012 statement. “In order to fully commemorate and immortalize her work, we have to decided to officially declare May 2nd as an official international holiday, in honor of the date that protagonist Harry Potter conquered the main antagonist of the series, Lord Voldemort. We hope that children and adults alike will be reminded of Harry Potter’s strong and courageous character on this day, as well as of the true credit that Ms. Rowling has made to society.”

As Cameron revealed in his statement, May 2 was chosen because it is the date the Battle of Hogwarts takes place in the Harry Potter series. It was on this day that Harry and his friends finally defeated Lord Voldemort. In the books, it was the day the world was finally able to go back to normal. 

What you can do to mark the day

There’s no official way to celebrate International Harry Potter Day, but many people mark the day by rewatching all eight Harry Potter films back-to-back. Some also spend the day to rereading their favorite book in the series. 

Throughout the world, book stores and schools put together magical festivals and activities to commemorate. But this year, with all the COVID-19 safety measures in place, that may not be possible. 

However, there are still other fun activities available online. On Rowling’s new Harry Potter Hub, which is being launched on WizardingWorld.com, fans can find Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast-themed activities and reading materials. The site features resources from a variety of providers including Audible, Pottermore Publishing, and Overdrive. 

“Welcome to the Harry Potter At Home hub where you’ll find all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied,” the website reads. The site also offers “special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world.”  

How some fans are celebrating International Harry Potter Day this year

As May 2 arrived, fans began observing International Harry Potter Day by reliving the magical story. “Damn it’s International Harry Potter Day??,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Well I guess I know what I’m watching today.”

A bookshop in Ireland is commemorating the day by hosting a virtual activity on YouTube. “This Saturday the 2nd of May is international Harry Potter Day and we here in Tertulia will be doing a Harry Potter special on Youtube Tertulia TV,” the book shop’s account tweeted. “As we have a Harry Potter corner in our bookshop and that i worked on the movies we couldn’t let it pass!” 

Many other fans took to social media to honor the Battle of Hogwarts. “Happy International Harry Potter Day,” a fan shared on Twitter. “On this day, in 1998, The Battle of Hogwarts was fought and Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort! Mischief Managed!” 

“Dear @jk_rowling it’s been 22 Years since the legendary BATTLE OF HOGWARTS,” another fan tweeted. “On this day we also lost our dearest Fred, Remus, and Tonks. So wishing you a happy International Harry Potter Day.”