In Li’l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch‘s earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The “homeliest gal in all them hills”, she grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin’. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic—about Sadie living at home for the rest of his life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it “Sadie Hawkins Day”. Specifically, a foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors—and matrimony as the consequence.
“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 town spinsters decided that this was such a good idea, they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch bachelors. In the satirical spirit that drove the strip, many sequences revolved around the dreaded Sadie Hawkins Day race. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown—by law he had to marry her!
Sadie Hawkins Day was first mentioned in the November 13, 1937 Li’l Abner daily strip, with the race actually taking place between November 19th and November 30th in the continuity. It would prove to be a popular annual feature in Li’l Abner, and a cultural phenomenon outside the strip. (see Schreiner, Dave; “Sadie’s First Run”, Li’l Abner Dailies Volume 3: 1937, Kitchen Sink Press, Princeton, WI, pg. 8.)
And All our local high school students just though it was some funky tradition started a generation or two before them. Further:
Outside the comic strip, the practical basis of Sadie Hawkins Day is one of simple gender role-reversal. Women and girls take the bold initiative by inviting the man or boy of their choice out on a date—almost unheard of before 1937—typically to a dance attended by other bachelors and their assertive dates. When Capp created the event, it wasn’t his intention to have it occur annually on a specific date because it inhibited his freewheeling plotting. However, due to its enormous popularity and the numerous fan letters he received, Capp obligingly made it a tradition in the strip every November, lasting four decades.
Tonight is the annual Sadie Hawkins Dance at Heppner High School. It follows the tradition of being girl-ask-boy; however, the girls of Heppner High School have taken that tradition one step further to make the way of asking the boy inventive and unique. I know that some have used cupcakes with the words spelled out, cookies, notes in or on cars, etc. You get the idea.
Emma asked her boyfriend, Jordan, in a very unique way this year, as well.
I can’t imagine how long it took her to write “Sadies” on each of those post it notes, but it was worth it – she did a great job!
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