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.: Harry Potter Holiday :.

Have you ever thought of taking a whole day off just to read the Harry Potter books or watch the movies? I'm sure this idea has once appeared on your mind. Well, for (y)our appreciation, that can turn out to be real! A very nice guy named Tom Johnson had the wonderful idea of making an online petition to claim for an International Harry Potter Holiday. I talked to him and that's exactly what I'll tell you about in this editorial.

Tommy, 25, is from Bountiful, Utah, but is currently living in Mountain View, State of California, United States, for the past year due to his college studies. He is a software developer for visual effects on television for sporting events. Prior to that, most of his studies were focused on "medical visualization of 3D MRI and CT (CAT) scans" (don't actually ask me what that is!). He told me that while in High School, he had read Harry Potter but didn't actually get into it very much. (!) Then, in 2002, he and his girlfriend watched the first two movies of the series and guess what: he simply loved it! In his words: "That was the best movie I have ever seen and I think Harry Potter is my new favorite series."

Okay, until now it is a normal fan story. But one day Tommy thought: "Hey, it would just be fun to start with the movie and then have that week off to get excited for the release of the book." In addition, he realized that the Harry Potter midnight releases, the parties to celebrate the new books, the theories, the anxiety, and all the buzz about what may happen in the story will soon be over. Saddened about this fact, he realized that Harry Potter needed somehow to be marked onto people's life, and the idea of a holiday in honor of the Boy-Who-Lived came up. He told me that "...every HP fan in the world probably feels the same way. Furthermore, the more people celebrating the better!"

But how to do it? There's not a how-to-create-your-own-holiday formula anywhere! He decided, then, that the best way to do it was by catching people's attention through an online petition. Thus, he "stayed up till somewhere between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. every night to get it up as fast as possible since there was only 5 months till the 7th book came out on July 21st." His wife (yes, ladies, he's married!) was a little jealous at the beginning, but after seeing the incredible result he got, she was fine with him. Moreover, she's also a Harry Potter fan, so she perfectly comprehends his efforts and is obviously willing to have an entire day exclusively to the tribute of Harry Potter which she has worked hard to promote, too.

"Say, what is this petition, anyway?", you might've been asking yourself. Well, according to his very own explanation, "the idea is simple: I created this petition web site that anyone can sign with a valid email address. Once I have 10,000 petitions from any particular country, I will forward each of the petitions to that country's government leaders. (...)My goal is to have 1,000,000 people sign my petition by Harry Potter Day (...)." How smart, huh? The petition started on February 21st and will be on air up to July 21st, the day that... well, you all know. Besides the petition, you can also receive a kind of gift from him! Yes! Every person that signs the petition gains a pixel on a gigantic "Mural of Fame" (the name was coined by me just now!). When the goal of 1,000,000 signatures be reached, an image of the sixth book will appear on the mural made of everyone's pixels. Before, people could also hold the mouse over a pixel and see who its owner was, but according to Tommy, "it turned out that browsers cannot have more than about 4,000 entries in an image map," so he had to take out this interesting feature.

And what day would be picked to be this holiday? Tommy hasn't chosen any day yet, although some nice ideas popped up. It could be on the day of the release of the last book, the 21st of July. It could also (and that's the day this humble editorialist prefers) be on the birthday of Harry Potter and his creator: July, 31st. However, more ideas can come up, and you can also tell everyone which day you prefer! That's because when you sign the petition, you can also leave a message. Tommy recommends that ideas for the day to be chosen and what to do in this date can be left there, but I'm sure he'd be glad to hear anything from you.

For sure, this hasn't been any bed of roses. The publicity of the petition has been increased due to Tommy's hard efforts and to partners that have been making a lot of noise in their countries. However, it's not been enough. At the end of March, it had around 9,000 signatures. If we count, that's something like 110 days to the petition's closure, and 991,000 signatures left to Tommy's goal! That makes about 9,010 people to sign it per day up to July 21st if we want it to be successfully concluded! As you can see, besides all the hard work, the number's not been increased as fast as it'd be desirable. People should sign more and more and also tell everybody about it. The mouth to mouth campaign is the ace up the sleeves of achieving Tommy's goal in my opinion.

Nonetheless, it's nice to see the top 5 countries that will probably reach the 10,000 mark and have their citizens' signatures be forwarded to their government: the first one far from the second is United States, with more than 2,200 signatures (all numbers are from the time I wrote it). After it, comes Brazil with an impressive mark of almost 1,500 people; then, France and Canada, very close to each other, with almost 700 people who signed it; and finally Mexico, with about 500 fans who marked their names on the Mural of Fame.

I have talked all editorial long about the petition, but I haven't given its link! How bad I am! To access it, let your name and message there and help a Harry Potter Holiday be created, go to, just as Tommy has repeated up to exhaustion in a video on YouTube. Also, if you want to talk to the clever petition's creator, you can send him an e-mail to this address: tommy at harrypotterholiday dot com. Evidently, you can also send me an e-mail, telling a story of yours, complain about me, make a compliment, send a howler, just about anything you want. The address is bruno at thesnitch dot com.

That's for today, folks. Hope to see you on the next editorial. Up to then, keep on signing the petition.

As we say bye in Portuguese: tchau!

Bruno Miquelino

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