Sadie Hawkins Day 2022: History, Significance and Activities

Sadie Hawkins Day is annually celebrated on November 13th in the United States. This is a fun day which encourages women to ask for a date and dancing which is usually the opposite mostly. 

National Sadie Hawkins Day is a day for a bit of gender role reversal, and we acknowledge the antiquity of ‘traditional’ roles where women become the pursuers of their crushes and ask men out on dates or for a dance. 

“Sadie Hawkins Day” was introduced in the comic strip on November 15, 1937. It is an American folk event and pseudo-holiday originated by Al Capp’s classic hillbilly comic strip Li’l Abner (1934–1978). 

Event National Sadie Hawkins Day
Date November 13, 2022
Day Sunday
Significance The day encourages women to ask for a date
Observed by United States


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Sadie Hawkins Day History: 

The tradition stems from a plot line in American cartoonist Al Capp’s (1909-1979) comic strip, “Li’l Abner,” which, unlike most comic strips of the time, was set in the American South, and not Northeastern cities and suburbs. The story is the one reviled by modern feminists involved a rich man’s daughter named Sadie Hawkins in the fictional town of Dogpatch, Kentucky. She grew frantic waiting for suitors until she reached age 35 and was still a spinster, and her father was worried about her living at home for the rest of her life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it “Sadie Hawkins Day”. A foot race was decreed with Sadie pursuing the town’s eligible bachelors. If Sadie caught a bachelor, he would be forced to marry her. 

As the event became a tradition in the comic strip, Capp added more story elements. Each year, the Sadie Hawkins storyline begins with a prophecy by Old Man Mose, who gives Li’l Abner a cryptic clue about the end of the storyline, which always comes true in a roundabout, surprising way. The storyline sometimes also includes the Sadie Hawkins Eve Dance which is held on the previous evening, when the young women wear hob-nailed boots and stomp on their partners’ feet, to make the bachelors run slower during the event. 

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The original Sadie Hawkins “Li’l Abner” comic strips were printed in 1937 in many American and foreign newspapers. The readership was wide and varied in demographics. Al Capp did not intend for his plot device to gain so much social momentum, but after he revisited the storyline in November of 1938, American college students started to honor the idea of gender role reversal by holding Sadie Hawkins dances and other events. By the winter of 1939, “Life” magazine had published a two-page spread with the headline, ‘On Sadie Hawkins Day Girls Chase Boys in 201 Colleges.’ Thus, the tradition was born. 

As the years went on, Sadie Hawkins dances became commonplace, not only at colleges and universities but at high schools and junior high schools, with many or most young participants not even aware of the old comic-strip storyline. However, we concede to those expressing a feminist distaste upon the idea of a woman’s ‘needing’ to be married, at any age. It is a quite antiquated point of view, looking at it now, well into the 21st century. National Sadie Hawkins Day is not for everyone. But it is one of the holidays for November 13, and everyone is free to celebrate this day with their own interpretation of the story. 

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Sadie Hawkins Day Significance: 

The date for Sadie Hawkins Day most commonly reported is November 13, two days before the first appearance in the comics. The date has on occasion been confused for February 29 (Leap Day), the date for Bachelor’s Day according to the original Irish tradition of women being allowed to propose marriage. Al Capp finally set the date for Sadie Hawkins Day as November 26, in his last Li’l Abner daily strip on November 5, 1977.  However today we most commonly celebrate Sadie Hawkins Day on 13th November only. 

Inspired by Capp’s satiric race in which eligible women chase down terrified bachelors for the purposes of wedlock, the event reverses the cultural norms of men as the romantic pursuers. Arthur Berger says that the day “represents a fertility rite and awakens an awareness of the relationship between the American courtship and more “primitive” rites.” Whatever the complains you might have from this storyline or day but you can’t ignore the fact that this had created a impact in our society as it popularized the belief that girls can also chase their crushes which was mostly not accepted or thought as a social norm back then.  

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It also gives us an idea about our past society. The fact that the basic premise of the Sadie Hawkins storyline is that a woman should be married to a man by a certain age, tells us how different things were 60 years ago. It would be outrageous today for a friend or family member to put that kind of pressure on a loved one. Today, we can recognize how far the fight for equality of all kinds has come, while at the same time acknowledging how much work is yet to be done to make our society even better in the future as there might be many things today which can be changed for better. 

Today this day has come under a radar with attacks for various controversies surrounding it, however like everything else in our world this day also has two sides of the coin and one was actually very progressive for the time as well. As in many ways, the day became a way for women to become assertive and take their dating choices in their hands. During the time of its publication, only men were expected to ask women on a date or propose marriage. A woman doing that was often considered too forward and of low morals. So this is a positive view behind the day and is still continues to be celebrated today. 

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Sadie Hawkins Day Activities: 

Even though women today are more independent than their counterparts in the early 20th century, there is still an unspoken societal rule that it is not proper for women to ask men out on dates. Use this day as an excuse to break these rules and ask your sweetie or crush out on a date or propose him if you know him for long in a relationship. 

You can also use this opportunity to learn more about the character of Sadie Hawkins by reading the comic book Lil’Abner. So yeah in this way you will be able to understand the character in a better way and there will be no meaningless celebrations. So read and learn about it and decide it yourself that what you will about this day and storyline in general. 

Are swing dance classes and contra dances still a thing? Go online and look up the venues in your town or city and find out. Grab a partner or go it alone, and hit the parquet with the intention of being asked to dance, and asking someone to dance. No need for politics or self-imposed strictures when the rhythm hits you. 

Most Searched FAQs on Sadie Hawkins Day: 

1. When is Sadie Hawkins Day celebrated? 

Sadie Hawkins Day is annually celebrated on November 13th in US. 

2. Was Sadie Hawkins a real person? 

Sadie Hawkins was not an actual person. She made her public debut in cartoon artist Al Capp’s November 15, 1937, comic strip “Li’l Abner,” which was set in the fictional mountain village of Dogpatch, Kentucky. 

3. What is the significance of Sadie Hawkins Day? 

On November 15, 1937, cartoonist Al Capp, creator of the Li’l Abner comic strip, introduced the idea of a day in fictitious Dogpatch, USA, when all unmarried ladies, including the character Sadie Hawkins, could pursue their men. If the men were caught, marriage was unavoidable.

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