Sherlock Holmes Day is an annual celebration, marked on the birthday of its creator, May 22. It was on this day that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came kicking into this world. Baked vividly into our imagination as the premium detective archetype because of near-constant portrayals by famous actors in pop culture, it is hard to believe that the novels debuted nearly 150 years ago. Sherlock Holmes is undoubtedly the most portrayed of all literary characters. Fans from all around the world gather to celebrate this international holiday, in celebration since 2013.
History of Sherlock Holmes Day
Raveling in the existential crisis of his late 20s, a lad from Edinburgh whipped up a short story within 3 weeks and sold it for £25 — all rights included — to a local publication house. The story went on to be published in several magazines and newspapers. Little did he know, that the piece of writing he couldn’t wait to get rid of, would become a milestone in crime fiction and sell more than 60 million copies. Since its debut in 1887, “Sherlock Holmes” has charted an unmatched legacy and become a household name because of its deeply enriching storylines and the impressionable character of its protagonist.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based the character of Sherlock on an Edinburgh university professor, Dr. Joseph Bell. In simple terms, Sherlock Holmes is a detective who uses the power of acute observation and deduction to solve crimes. But Conan Doyle’s outstanding writing and deep knowledge of the genre made the stories an instant hit.
Ranked consistently as one of the most important literary characters of all time, Sherlock Holmes has remained relevant for nearly 150 years. The adaptation of Sherlock Holmes in cinema has been carried on for centuries as well, starting right from the year 1900, when the first motion picture on the character was conceptualized and directed by Arthur Marvin. Since there is no dearth in his recognition, Sherlock Holmes Day is all about the celebration of the genius of Conan Doyle.
Sherlock Holmes Day timeline
Arthur Conan Doyle meets Dr. Bell, who becomes the chief inspiration for the character of Sherlock.
Arthur Conan Doyle writes his first short story “A Study in Scarlet,” and brings Holmes into the world.
Following up on the success of the first story, Conan Doyle publishes his first book on Sherlock Holmes titled “The Sign of Four.”
May 22, the birthday of Conan Doyle, is officially designated as International Sherlock Holmes Day.
“Sherlock Holmes 3,” starring Robert Downing Junior, is set for release in December 2022.
Sherlock Holmes Day FAQs
Was Sherlock Holmes a real person?
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, brought into the world by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is loosely based on his former professor, Dr. Joseph Bell.
What was Sherlock Holmes's most famous quote?
“What is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring.”
Did Sherlock Holmes have a medical diagnosis?
As per the books, the character of Sherlock Holmes suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, and savant syndrome.
Sherlock Holmes Day Activities
Throw a Holmes-themed party
It’s time to pull out the iconic deerstalker hat, smoking pipe, and frock coat. Celebrate the day with a themed party and ask your guest to dress up as British socialites of the late 19th century. Tea and biscuits can count as the main serving, as long as they are inspired by the recipes of Mrs. Hudson.
Take a risk
Conan Doyle started writing as a deflection from his failed career as an ophthalmologist. It was a long-held but rarely practiced hobby that later became the purpose of his life. Had he not taken the risk of quitting his medical practice to give his hobby a chance, the world would have never known about Holmes. On the anniversary of his birth, take a risk and see where it lands you.
Write a short story
Tis’ the season to let your imagination fly. Conan Doyle started his multi-book saga with a short story at age 27. Honor the man and celebrate the day by writing a short story of your own and sharing it with the world.
5 Most Common Myths About Sherlock Holmes
It’s based on the Canon
Every single adaptation of Holmes replaces distinct character traits to fit the storyline.
He’s supposed to be hot
The attractiveness of Holmes is the creation of illustrator Sidney Paget, and not of Conan Doyle, who wrote the detective as balding and hideous.
Affairs and beyond
Sherlock Holmes is an asexual, with no erotic leanings towards men or women.
He’s not the smartest Holmes
Sherlock Holmes's brother Mycroft is smarter than him, as he possesses the same capabilities with lesser social anxiety.
The limits of the friendship
It is often portrayed that Sherlock has complete faith in Watson, but the books state that Sherlock is highly doubtful of everyone around him.
Why We Love Sherlock Holmes Day
It’s the celebration of a genius
No, we aren’t just talking about Sherlock. May 22 is the birth anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — the greatest crime fiction writer of the 19th century. Conan Doyle was a fearless writer who honored his craft by pushing the boundaries of his chosen genre. On Sherlock Holmes Day, we center the genius and shower him with respect.
Conan Doyle’s unflinching dedication to the craft is an inspiration to writers and artists all around the world. This day serves as a reminder to all of us that the world is awaiting our creations, all we have to do is be brave enough to start.
It honors the blueprint
Sherlock Holmes is the ultimate milestone of crime fiction. The stories embedded in the 19th-century publication are institutions for emerging writers and creators. By celebrating the day, we honor the ultimate stronghold of fictional storytelling and larger-than-life characters.
Sherlock Holmes Day dates