It only happens once a year. Today marks the 106th anniversary of Bloomsday. Pittsburgh has been formally celebrating since 1988, however the first official celebration occured in the form of a five month-long festival in Dublin in 1954. Perhaps you’re wondering to yourself, what is Bloomsday exactly? It’s a day commemorating the life of James Joyce as well as his novel, Ulysses. June 16 is the birthday of James Joyce; the day in which the entire novel Ulysses takes place in Dublin; and marks the first date of Joyce and his wife-to-be Nora Barnacle. Festivities on this day include dramatization and readings of Ulysses, pub crawls and sometimes a traditional Irish breakfast.
Diehard fans of Ulysses have been known to conduct 36-hour readings of the novel in its entirety. Though our local celebration doesn’t reach that kind of intensity, Joyce fans can look forward to a day of reading throughout the city, including the Main Library at 2:30 pm. For the full schedule of when and where, check the Bloomsday in Pittsburgh schedule of events.