When is Sadie Hawkins Day?

couple dancing, women in white dress and hat, man in black suit and tie. vintage sadie hawkins day dance
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Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Sadie Hawkins Day History and Facts

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Sadie Hawkins Day is a unique holiday celebrated in some parts of the United States. It is named after a fictional character named Sadie Hawkins, whom cartoonist Al Capp created in his famous comic strip “Li’l Abner.” The holiday is observed on the first Saturday in November.

What Is Sadie Hawkins Day?

The origins of Sadie Hawkins Day can be traced back to the comic strip storyline published in 1937. In the story, Sadie Hawkins is a young woman who lives in the fictional town of Dogpatch. She was portrayed as very shy and introverted, making it difficult to find a romantic partner.

In an effort to help Sadie find a husband, her father, Hekzebiah Hawkins, organized a foot race. The race was open to all the eligible bachelors in town, and Sadie would chase after them. The twist was that if Sadie caught a bachelor, he would be obligated to marry her.

lil abner comic book sadie hawkins day
Li’l Abner Comic book, The Sadie Hawkins edition

The concept of Sadie Hawkins Day quickly gained popularity and became a cultural phenomenon. It was seen as a way to empower women and challenge traditional gender roles. 

In November 1938, the first “girls-ask-boys” Sadie Hawkins Day dance happened and became popular. 1939 Life magazine reported that more than 200 colleges had held Sadie Hawkins Day events. The holiday was embraced by many communities, and schools and colleges started organizing Sadie Hawkins dances and events.

Over time, Sadie Hawkins Day has evolved into a day where women take the initiative to ask men out on dates or propose marriage. It is often seen as a reversal of traditional gender roles, where women are typically expected to wait for men to make the first move.

In some communities, Sadie Hawkins Day is celebrated with elaborate events and activities. These can include costume contests, parades, and even beauty pageants. The foot race featured in the original comic strip storyline is sometimes reenacted, with women chasing after men.

While Sadie Hawkins Day is not widely observed across the United States, it continues to be celebrated in specific regions and communities. It is seen as a fun and lighthearted holiday encouraging women to take charge and break societal norms.

Sadie Hawkins Day is a quirky holiday originating from a comic strip storyline. It has since become a day where women are encouraged to take the lead in romantic pursuits. The holiday celebrates empowerment and challenges traditional gender roles, making it a unique and interesting observance.

When Is Sadie Hawkins Day?

The date of Sadie Hawkins Day events can vary. The Almanac uses the first Saturday in November. (A Saturday is a great day to have a fun dance, after all!) 

Some celebrate on November 15 because that is the anniversary of the original comic strip. However, some places in the United States may celebrate it on November 13, too.

Leap Day

A similar tradition is associated with February 29 in leap years. Long ago, Leap Day, also was known as “Ladies’ Day” or “Ladies’ Privilege,” the only period of time when women were free to propose to men. It is thought that this event may have been based on a Scottish law in the 1200s or on an Irish legend, but no one knows for sure.

What Do You Think?

Do you think Sadie Hawkins Day still feels relevant today? Whatever your opinion, it’s a fun look at times’ past and an exciting idea for teenage girls and boys today!

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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