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Happy birthday to J. R. R. Tolkien’s hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! They are both characters in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In the books, both Bilbo and Frodo were said to be born on Sept. 22. Bilbo was born in 2890 and Frodo in year of 2968 in the Third Age (1290 and 1368 respectively in Shire-Reckoning.)
The American Tolkien Society first proclaimed Hobbit Day and Tolkien Week in 1978, but the movie wasn’t filmed until 1999 and today these sets are a permanent tourist attraction. So, don’t just make a cake and blow out the calendars in honor of your favorite hobbits. Go to Hobbiton!
The movie, directed by Peter Jackson, was filmed entirely in New Zealand and Hobbiton was recreated in Matamata, which is about a two-hour drive from Auckland. Here you can see hobbit holes, gardens, the bridge, Mill, and The Green Dragon Inn, the neighborhood watering hole.
PHOTO: Hobbiton's Green Dragon Inn. TravelPulse file photo.
Other “Lord of the Rings” scenes were filmed in Piopio, where there are limestone rock formations and cliffs at Mangaotaki Rocks that transpose the area to look like Middle-earth. Here, it was the location for the Hobbits’ Trollshaws Forest and Staddles Farm. Crews filmed in Turoa, Ruapehu, and the highest mountain in the North Island of New Zealand.
Fans of the Middle-earth can also travel to eastern Switzerland and visit The Greisinger Museum, located in Jenins, one of the four municipalities in the canton of Graubünden. It opened its doors three years ago this October.
Every year, there is a Middle-earth Festival and this year it was held at the beginning of September at Sarehole Mill, Birmingham, so plan to check it out next year. It started as an annual community event in 1998, and honors J.R.R. Tolkien with activities and entertainments for all the family. There is also the Tolkien Weekend taking place this upcoming weekend at the Newcastle, a medieval fortification in Newcastle in Tyne, England.
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On the Tolkien Library website, there are 15 places recommended for any Tolkien fan to see in a lifetime. One of them is Oxford, England where Tolkien lived and wrote Lord of the Rings. Visit 20 Northmoor Road, the former home of the author J.R.R. Tolkien, where there’s a blue plaque that signifies where he lived.
If you can’t get to any of the festivals, check out the J. R. R. Tolkien exhibition that tours the country until February 2017 and the dates and places can be found on the Tolkien Society website.
According to the website, the exhibition focuses on the time Tolkien spent in Staffordshire during the First World War. Visitors will be able to explore the writings, poetry, and artwork that Tolkien wrote in the county, as well as learn more about life for soldiers in Staffordshire during the Great War.
If you’re in Oxford, pay your respects to the man who created the world. Tolkien is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery in the north Oxford suburb of Wolvercote.