Celebrated on May 22nd, Sherlock Holmes Day is a tribute to the world’s most renowned detective from fiction, Sherlock Holmes. This character, born from the creativity of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has set a benchmark in the mystery genre. On this day, enthusiasts immerse themselves in the intriguing world of Holmes by reading his stories, joining special events, and engaging in spirited discourse about his memorable quests.

Sherlock Holmes Day encourages everyone to channel their investigative spirit and explore the captivating charm of Holmes’ enduring legacy.

History of Sherlock Holmes Day

Celebrated on May 22nd each year, Sherlock Holmes Day is dedicated to honoring the world’s most celebrated detective in literature, Sherlock Holmes. This character, crafted by British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, first appeared in 1887. The choice of the date for this celebration is no coincidence, as May 22nd is also Doyle’s birth anniversary.

Sherlock Holmes made his literary debut in “A Study in Scarlet,” a novel which was first published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Initially, the book did not receive critical acclaim. However, through a series of short stories that started with “A Scandal in Bohemia” in 1891 in The Strand Magazine, Sherlock Holmes gained traction among readers.

Holmes’ extraordinary intellectual capacity, his knack for unraveling complicated mysteries through logical reasoning and deductions, endeared him to readers. Doyle featured Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. John Watson, in four novels and 56 short stories.

Despite Doyle’s attempt to retire the character of Sherlock Holmes, the author was forced to bring him back due to massive public demand. Holmes was eventually resurrected in the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, published over 1901–02.

Sherlock Holmes has since been the centerpiece of many film adaptations, TV series, radio broadcasts, theatrical performances, and even video games. His influence transcends his stories, as many identify Holmes as a symbol of detective work.

Initially, Sherlock Holmes Day was simply marked by dedicated fans who organized readings, gatherings, and other events. Over time, the celebration became more popular and is recognized worldwide, attracting participants of all ages. Book discussion sessions, trivia contests, cosplay events, and movie marathons are some of the activities organized on this special day.

Sherlock Holmes Day Timeline

Birth of Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

First Publication of Sherlock Holmes

The world was first introduced to Sherlock Holmes in 'A Study in Scarlet', published by Ward, Lock & Co.

Publication of 'The Sign of Four'

The second Sherlock Holmes novel, 'The Sign of Four', was published.

Publication of 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes'

The first series of short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes', was serialized in The Strand Magazine.

'Death' of Sherlock Holmes

Doyle 'killed off' Sherlock Holmes in 'The Final Problem', intending to focus on more serious writings.

Return of Sherlock Holmes

Doyle brought back Sherlock Holmes due to public demand in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', though it was set before Holmes' 'death'.

BBC's 'Sherlock'

BBC's modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, aired its first season in 2010 and continues to enjoy a massive following.

Ideas to Celebrate Sherlock Holmes Day

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Host a Sherlock Holmes Movie Marathon

Invite your friends over for a day of mystery and intrigue with a selection of Sherlock Holmes films and series. From the classic portrayals by Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett to the modern versions featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch, there’s plenty to choose from.

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Throw a Victorian-era costume party

Encourage guests to dress up as their favorite character from the Sherlock Holmes series. Characters could include Sherlock, Dr. John Watson, Mrs. Hudson, Irene Adler, or even the villainous Moriarty.

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Organize a Holmesian Trivia Night

Create a list of trivia questions based on Sherlock Holmes stories, characters, and the author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Divide the participants into teams and add some competitiveness into the celebration.

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Read and Discuss your favorite Sherlock Holmes story

Arrange a small gathering where everyone reads a favorite story from the Sherlock Holmes series and then discuss the story line, its characters, and what they loved about it.

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Bake a London-Esque Dinner

Prepare and cook a traditional Victorian London dinner and desserts. Since Sherlock is known for his love for food and tobacco, try dishes like roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, apple pie, and more.

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Try to Solve a Mystery

Celebrate the day by enrolling yourself in an escape room or a murder mystery dinner. Act as a detective as Sherlock would and try to solve the mystery.

8 Interesting Facts About Sherlock Holmes


The Creation of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes was created by Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle. Despite being a fictional character, Holmes is famous around the world for his impressive detective skills.


Influence for the Character

Holmes' character was heavily influenced by Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom Doyle worked as a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Doyle admired Bell's ability to draw broad conclusions from minor observations.


Moriarty Was Introduced Late

Holmes' infamous nemesis, Professor Moriarty, only appeared in two of the Sherlock Holmes stories: 'The Final Problem' and 'The Valley of Fear'. Despite this, the character is often considered Holmes' main antagonist.


Attempts to Retire the Character

Conan Doyle attempted to kill off Holmes in 'The Final Problem' in 1893 by having him fall to his death. However, public outcry led him to revive the character in 1901's 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.


The Baker Street Address

The address 221B Baker Street, where Holmes supposedly resided, did not actually exist when the novels were written. It was a fictional address. Today, it is the site of the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London.


Sherlock Holmes' Addictions

Sherlock Holmes often used drugs in the stories, including cocaine and morphine, due to the belief held at the time that they were harmless.


Holmes' Continued Popularity

Sherlock Holmes continues to be a beloved character and has been portrayed in numerous TV shows, movies, and books outside of Conan Doyle's original works.


World Record Holder

According to the Guinness World Records, Sherlock Holmes is 'the most portrayed literary human character in film & TV', excluding mythological and religious characters.

Sherlock Holmes Day FAQs

Next Sherlock Holmes Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 May 22nd Monday
2024 May 22nd Wednesday
2025 May 22nd Thursday
2026 May 22nd Friday
2027 May 22nd Saturday
What is the pattern? Every May 22nd

Sherlock Holmes Day Word Search

  • Detective
  • Holmes
  • Watson
  • Mystery
  • Investigate
  • Deduction