National Winnie-the-Pooh Day Date in the current year: January 18, 2024

National Winnie-the-Pooh Day Winnie-the-Pooh is an iconic and beloved character, so it is not surprising that there is a holiday dedicated to him. National Winnie-the-Pooh Day is celebrated annually on January 18 to commemorate the birthday of Pooh’s creator, English author Alan Alexander Milne.

A lot of people around the globe associate Winnie-the-Pooh with Disney cartoons, but this lovable bear originated as a book character. Pooh’s story began in 1924 when English writer Alan Alexander Milne took his 4-year-old son Christopher Robin to London Zoo, where the boy became enamored with the American black bear Winnipeg, or Winnie for short.

They went to see Winnie several times, and Christopher Robin eventually renamed his teddy bear Edward Winnie-the-Pooh: Winnie after Winnipeg and Pooh after a nickname he had given to a swan he had encountered while vacationing with his father. A. A. Milne became inspired and began to create a story about a boy named Christopher Robin and his friend, a teddy bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. He incorporated his son’s other toys into the story, creating Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga and Roo; Owl and Rabbit, however, did not have toy prototypes.

The first story about Winnie-the-Pooh was published in a December 1925 issue of the London Evening News, and the first book, entitled simply Winnie-the-Pooh and illustrated by E. H. Shephard, was published in 1926. The second book about the adventures of Pooh and his friends, The House at Pooh Corner, was published in 1928. Milne also frequently mentioned the bear in his children’s poems.

In 1930, Milne sold exclusive US and Canadian rights to Winnie-the-Pooh and other characters from the Pooh stories to American producer Stephen Slessinger. Following Slessinger’s death, his widow took over his company and decided to promote Pooh. Upon meeting Walt Disney, she licensed exclusive television rights and some other rights to the Pooh character to his company in 1961.

Disney released its first animated film about Winnie the Pooh (the name of the Disney version of the character is not hyphenated), Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, in 1966. The Walt Disney Company owned exclusive rights to Winnie-the-Pooh and other Milne’s characters for more than half a century. During this time, the studio released numerous animated films and series about Pooh and his friends. In 2021, the United States copyright to the character expired, and Winnie-the-Pooh entered the public domain in the country.

The origins of National Winnie-the-Pooh Day are somewhat murky, but it has been observed on Milne’s birthday since at least 1986. There are many ways to celebrate this amazing holiday. You can read A. A. Milne’s books about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends, watch their Disney adaptations or the 2023 horror film Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, buy Winnie-the-Pooh merchandise, or even visit Disneyland that has a Winnie-the-Pooh-themed ride named The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. And don’t forget to post about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #WinnieThePoohDay and #NationalWinnieThePoohDay.

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National Winnie-the-Pooh Day, holidays in the United States, Alan Alexander Milne, Winnie the Pooh