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Bloomsday is an annual celebration among Joyce fans throughout the world, from Fort Lauderdale to Melbourne. Bloomsday commemorates the work of the Irish author James Joyce and is called after the main character in his most famous work Leopold Bloom of Ulysses fame. The masterpiece Ulysses recounts the hour-by-hour events of one day in Dublin, June 16, 1904, as an ordinary Dubliner, Leopold Bloom, wends his way through the urban landscape, the odyssey of a modern-day Ulysses. Streets, shops, pubs, churches, bridges, something of Dublin pops up on nearly every page.
The Joyce-fest takes place on the date when the writer took his future wife Nora on their first outing in 1904. This was also the day he chose to set his masterpiece, Ulysses. The tradition began in 1954, when some local writers commandeered horse-drawn cabs and attempted to visit all the locations in the modernist yarn. It is celebrated in at least sixty countries worldwide, but nowhere so imaginatively, of course, as in Dublin. There, the events of Leopold Bloom's day are reenacted by anyone who cares to participate, and his itinerary is followed all across Dublin. Dressed in Edwardian costume, Joyceans from around the world, conjure up the atmosphere of the period in which Ulysses was set, 1904. It is traditional to dress up and go out for the day, visiting the locations of the book and taking part in readings, walks and convivial activities of all sorts which in some way connect with Ulysses, its author and its world.
Fans follow the route around Dublin taken by Bloom and usually have a breakfast of sausages, beans, black and white pudding and toast at some stage along the way. Davy Byrnes Pub usually figures in everyones Bloomsday celebration at some stage of the day. In the afternoon the Ormond Hotel is the spot for an afternoon pint, where Bloom was tempted by the barmaids in the Sirens chapter. Bloomsday celebrations also feature readings of Ulysses, James Joyce lookalike contests and dramastisations from the novel take place at various stages by costumed performers, as well as traditional Irish music and guided walks. Fanatics have held marathon readings of the 250,000-word novel, and the centenary celebrations in 2004 saw 10,000 people treated to an open-air full Irish breakfast. Much of the Bloomsday celebrations are hosted by the James Joyce Centre in North Great Georges St Dublin. In the eyes of many, it's easier and a lot more fun than trying to work your way through Ulysses.