It may seem a bit odd to wish a happy birthday to a fictional character, but I’ve seen people do it for Harry Potter and Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, so why not? According to The Road to Oz, today is the birthday of Ozma of Oz. In this book, she has a grand celebration and invites notables from all over fairyland, which serves within the fiction as a way to make alliances with her neighbors, and from the author’s perspective as a big crossover between his books. I’m not sure if this would be Ozma’s first birthday after her restoration, but if she had one before it presumably wasn’t as elaborately celebrated. After the guests arrive on the day before her birthday, she holds a banquet at which Santa Claus is the guest of honor, and sits at the foot of the main table. There’s a separate table for the animals, which becomes standard for palace meals in later books. A third table seats “the Ryls and Knooks who had come with Santa Claus, the wooden soldiers who had come with the Queen of Merryland, and the Hilanders and Lolanders who had come with John Dough,” as well as “the officers of the royal palace and of Ozma’s army.” Several of the guests provide entertainment, including the Tin Woodman singing a love song, Polychrome dancing, the wooden soldiers from Merryland drilling, Para Bruin bouncing, and the Wogglebug reciting his “Ode to Ozma.”
On the actual day, a procession walks out of the Emerald City to a nearby pavilion, where more entertainments took place, including displays of magic by Glinda and the Good Witch of the North. Many of the guests return home in giant soap bubbles made by the Wizard of Oz, with some help from Santa.
The next celebration of Ozma’s birthday we see is in Magic, and here it’s a much smaller gathering. By this time, Oz is much more isolated, so there aren’t any foreign guests.
Listed as sitting at the main table are the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, Betsy Bobbin, the Shaggy Man, Trot, Cap’n Bill, Button-Bright, Ojo, Dr. Pipt and his wife Margolotte, the Frogman, Glinda, Jinjur, Captain Fyter, the Wogglebug, Scraps, and Jack Pumpkinhead. At the animal table are the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, Toto, Hank the Mule, Eureka, the Sawhorse, Billina, and the Glass Cat. Note that, even though the Wogglebug and Frogman are technically animals (well, okay, humans are also technically animals, but you know what I mean), they’re at the main table. I guess it’s because they adopted human customs upon gaining their oversize forms. Dorothy and the Wizard prepare a cake for Ozma that has twelve tiny monkeys inside, and not only does gathering the monkeys lead to a lot of trouble, but it isn’t even that original because the Wizard did something similar with the Nine Tiny Piglets in a pie in Road.
I suppose it’s good they arrived at the Forest of Gugu when they did, however, as it allowed them to thwart Ruggedo and Kiki Aru’s plans of conquest.
In Wonder City, the birthday celebration occurs near the beginning of the story, and the main event appears to be a parade in which many of the people and animals of Oz participate.
Never really imagined Kabumpo as the sort to take up roller skating.
Ozma, Dorothy, and Glinda ride in the royal chariot drawn by the Lion and Tiger, with Tik-Tok as the coachman. Once the parade exits the city gates, they take a moving road known as an Ozcalator around the land, with the visitors getting off as it passes their homes.
Several other later stories incorporate Ozma’s birthday. Eleanor Kennedy’s “The Braided Man of Oz” has the title character save the day when Ugu the Shoemaker casts a spell on the Emerald City during a birthday party. In J.L. Bell’s “Ozma’s Swap Party,” the ruler organizes a group swap of presents in order to avoid any more dangerous present searches like in Magic. And Diana Merryman’s brief “To Oz Through the Mists” involves a girl named Merrilana helping the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Lion to bake cookies for Ozma’s birthday party. Since Ozma has now had over one hundred birthdays, and seems to throw a party every other day anyway, I don’t even know how she can still keep the celebrations interesting. Still, I’d love to look in on today’s festivities. Happy birthday, Ozma, and many more!