“We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
So, if you’ve come to my post, then the above holds true for you too… you’re mad. Whether you deliberately searched for my blog, were led here by some other search term, or it was the top post in the blog roll – you came here. Welcome. And I’ll admit, I’m mad too. So if we’re all mad here, then we should all celebrate Mad Hatter Day together in true Wonderland style.
What is Mad Hatter Day did I hear you ask? I also just stumbled upon it by chance and went searching for more. Well it is a day to celebrate nonsense, silliness and madness. It is a day where we get a free pass to abandon all the things we call sane in this existence as humans, and celebrate madly the things that are really important. Tea parties for example. And laughter. And friends.
In the illustrations by John Tenniel in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter’s hat bears a piece of paper with the words “In this style 10/6”. In 1986, a group of people translating the 10/6 as October 6th, were inspired to behave “in the style” of the Mad Hatter on this day. A few years later it had become recognised and has been celebrated since – On October 6th in America, and 10th June in Britain.
Did you know that the character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is not actually called The Mad Hatter, he is just called The Hatter (or Hatta in Through the Looking Glass) though both he and the March Hare are referred to as mad. The term “mad as a hatter” seems to originate from the fact that mercury was used in the process of hat-making and hat makers couldn’t avoid inhaling the fumes resulting in mercury poisoning which caused neurological damage. The forthcoming symptoms became known as mad hatter disease.
What are the ‘sane’ things we should call madness on this day? I’ll pick a few of my own as example:
How about abandoning what I love to do in favour of something that earns more money? On Mad Hatter Day I will give my energy only to that which I love and will ban myself from doing the ‘have-to’ just for one day (OK, not so hard with October 6th being a Sunday this year.) In case you missed my previous post Do What You Love | Love What You Do, I’ve already started with that change.
What about sitting at home all day while my car is being repaired when there is a perfectly good bicycle gathering cobwebs – transport, fresh air and exercise.
How about driving 75km to go to work to earn the money for the petrol to drive to work?
A spur of the moment idea saw me hosting an impromptu Mad Hatter tea party today. I baked my first ever Lemon Meringue, made heart shaped biscuits a la Queen of Hearts, and of course, drank tea. A few friends came over, commenting that it is a day that suits me well and complimented me on my baking skills. I reflected on some of the temptations to adopt the world’s view of sanity and to ignore my inner ‘craziness’ which may lead down the path less travelled, and am ending the day more resolved to follow my heart.
3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll