Bilbo's Farewell Party

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Bilbo's Farewell Party
Other namesBilbo's Birthday Party
LocationParty Field, Hobbiton
Date22 September T.A. 3001
ParticipantsSee below
ReferencesThe Fellowship of the Ring, "A Long-expected Party"
GalleryImages of Bilbo's Farewell Party

Bilbo's Farewell Party was a grand celebration held by Bilbo Baggins on his 111st birthday in the Party Field, on 22 September, T.A. 3001. It was coincidentally also the 33rd birthday of his nephew Frodo Baggins. Another significance was that Bilbo's and Frodo's years on that day summed up 144 - a gross, and for that reason a portion of the party was "invitation only" with 144 guests.

History[edit | edit source]

Preparations[edit | edit source]

In T.A. 2989, Bilbo had taken into his custody his orphaned younger cousin, Frodo Baggins, with whom he shared a birthday, and they celebrated with lively parties in Bag End. However as years passed Bilbo felt weary (possibly because of his use of his magic ring) and around T.A. 3001 he decided to leave the Shire. He scheduled his disappearance as an abrupt event to occur during his birthday speech.

That year he would celebrate his 111st year and also Frodo's coming-of-age, and announced "a party of special magnificence", which caused a sensation in the vicinity, because of his eccentricity and wealth. Indeed, since T.A. 3000 he had ordered special gifts from Erebor and Dale, and Dwarves of Erebor started arriving with wagons full of packages; a bigger excitement came when the "conjurer" Gandalf, famous for his fireworks in Gerontius Took's parties years ago, also arrived.

The following days Bilbo was busy writing and sending invitations, managing his list and packaging the gifts, refusing curious folk who pretended they came to help. The post-offices of Hobbiton and Bywater were overwhelmed by the number of invitations and responses. His catering from miles around Hobbiton had depleted the stocks of most storerooms and storehouses.

In the days leading up to the party the large field in front of Bag End was repurposed for the needs of the feast, with ropes, poles, lanterns, tents and pavilions, and a new gate was built to connect it to the road.[1]

Party[edit | edit source]

A Long Expected Party by Inger Edelfeldt

It was a huge and expensive celebration attended by most hobbits in the area. Bilbo welcomed the attendees in person at the new white gate, giving each their presents (some secretly exited by a back way and came in again by the gate to get a second present).

Outside of food and drink there were music, songs and dances. There were copious amounts of food and drink and people were continuously feasting from elevenses. Many children came by parental permission (especially since they were fed a free meal). At lunch and tea the guests sat to eat together. At six-thirty Gandalf began a show with all kinds of fireworks. The last one was designed and made especially to honor Bilbo: the figure of a mountain which spouted a lifelike fire-drake, which roared and whizzed three times over the crowd before flying and exploding above Bywater. That was the signal for the supper/dinner.

The Springle-ring by Miriam Ellis

After the last meal, Bilbo began giving his inevitable and much-dreaded speech, but the guests were already satisfied and could tolerate anything and cheer with every word. As Bilbo began his speech, talking about his age and thanking them for coming, they thought he had said what was necessary and started playing with the musical crackers and dancing the springle-ring. Bilbo had to take and blow a horn in order to silence them. Then he said they were there for three reasons: to tell them that he is fond of all of them; to celebrate his and Frodo's birthday (reminiscing of his arrival to Esgaroth years ago); and to say farewell as it would be the end.

The moment was notable for Bilbo's abrupt disappearance (he used the Ring for that effect, and Gandalf improvised a flash) at the end of his speech. Bilbo then passed behind the surprised guests, who were mumbling and gossipping and sought comfort in more food, and returned to Bag End. He was joined by Gandalf, who persuaded him to leave the Ring in Frodo's keeping, and Bilbo departed for the east[1] with three Dwarf companions.[2]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

As the host's heir, Frodo had the duty to comfort the shocked guests and fare them well. Around midnight carriages came to take the important guests home, and those who were too drunk or heavy, were taken by gardeners on wheelbarrows.

The next day, workers were ordered to clean up the Party Field, the installations, the decoration and the culinary and other forgotten things like bags, gloves and handkerchiefs. The news alarmed everyone and Bag End was flooded by the guests who demanded a logical explanation, and to collect the presents Bilbo left for them.

The guests were so full that the next weeks there were almost no purchases of provisions throughout the district.

Attendees[edit | edit source]

Bilbo's party in the The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I.

Everyone around Hobbiton and Bywater was invited, even from Buckland. Some were distant relatives living in distant parts of the Shire. A few were overlooked by accident, but they came anyway.

A select 144 from the extended families of Bilbo and Frodo (including Gandalf and other special guests) joined the special family dinner-party, held in the great pavilion by the Tree.

In alphabetical order


  1. They are marked as guests in older editions of the Appendix C, but unmarked in later editions; not known if it is a typographical error or a correction.