5 Reasons to Celebrate Sadie Hawkins Day

A look at the day when traditional dating etiquette is reversed — it’s the ladies’ turn to ask the guys out
Staff Writer
Li'l Abner


Li'l Abner

Were you ever the girl who asked the guy out on Sadie Hawkins Day, or asked him to be your date for the Sadie Hawkins dance? Pretty cool to think that all the way back in the 1930s, the ladies had a chance to chase down the men, rather than the more traditional reverse custom (especially back then).

But did you know that the holiday*, which nowadays is celebrated on the first Saturday after the 9th of November, thus the 12th this year, was in fact masterminded by one comic strip genius?

Indeed. In pop culture, Sadie had her debut on November 15, 1937, in Al Capp’s beloved comic Li’l Abner. Still alone and single (and living under her father’s roof) at age 35, Sadie had her father all in a tizzy, worried that she’d be living with him forever. So, in an act of desperation, dear old dad Hekzebiah called together all the unmarried men in Dogpatch for a footrace to take place on “Sadie Hawkins Day.” Watch out men, Sadie’s coming to get you.

"When ah fires [my gun], all o' yo' kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin — after givin' yo' a fair start — Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husbin."

The holiday was an instant hit in the comic strip, where it was celebrated every year until its last run in 1977. In a short time, the once nonexistent holiday exploded in popularity across the country, with Life magazine publishing a spread showing that on Sadie Hawkins Day, girls at 201 colleges around the nation, including Texas Wesleyan, chased down boys to ask them to come to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Fourteen years later, the holiday was thought to be celebrated at more than 40,000 events across the country  remarkable, as the ‘50s were a time when women were to stay at home and raise a family  not ask someone else out.

While the Li’l Abner strip ended in 1977, two years before Capp passed away, Sadie Hawkins still lives on today in a variety of ways across the country — be it a traditional Sadie Hawkins dance or just the simple practice of a girl asking the guy she’s lusting after out instead of waiting for him to call. Here are our five reasons to celebrate Sadie this year:


5. Throw Your Own Sadie’s Dance

Now, it might not be a late-night dance party (unless you want it to), but doesn’t everyone love dancing in the backyard or in a barn under twinkle lights? Donning your hillbilly best like the clothes that Sadie and Li’l Abner wear is up to you. But ladies, it’s your turn to ask him out.


4. Make Mammy Yokum’s Cream of Wheat Apple Pudding

Yes, this recipe is perfect for a November morning. Though fried cream of wheat sounds awfully good, too.


3. Plan a Girls Night

You don’t need to have a guy around to celebrate the day — just wrangle your closest friends and plan a girls night. Maybe it’s a potluck dinner, a crafty party of sorts, a wine tasting — or even bonding over delicious cheeses. Just be sure it’s a delicious gathering, too.


2. Host a Hillbilly Dinner Party

With hay bales, bandannas, and overalls! As Sadie lived a simple life, keep the party basic, too. Start with bacon-wrapped sausages and easy-to-assemble crostini, and let a country-style barbecue with fried chicken, ribs, corn, and biscuits shine for the main course (you can even cheat and rely on Popeye’s or KFC for help). Then make guests work for dessert (while listening to country, of course) by putting out all the fixings for a make-your-own-sundae bar.


1. Cook for Him

You’ve been looking at him, when he’s not looking, with puppy eyes for weeks. So what are you waiting for? Shoot him a text and ask him to come over to test a new recipe like this short rib pasta dish that is finger-licking good (Read these tips first). Better yet? Ask him to teach you the secrets to grilling meat.


*Sadie Hawkins Day is not to be confused with February 29th, or Leap Day, which is thought by many to be Sadie Hawkins Day. Thanks to an old Irish tradition, St. Bridget's Complaint, it is the one day where women can propose marriage.

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