The entire action of James Joyce's Ulysses takes place on one day, June 16, 1904. It starts at dawn, with Stephen Dedalus having breakfast with Buck Mulligan and Haines, and finishes up in the early hours of June 17, with Molly Bloom's soliloquy. Joyce picked this particular date because it was the day on which he first walked around Dublin with Nora Barnacle, with whom he would spend the rest of his life.

Joyceans and others celebrate Bloomsday in Dublin on June 16th of each year, re-enacting the events decribed in the book. For most, this involves getting dressed up in period attire, eating and drinking the same meals as Bloom has in the book, and tracing the route he took around Dublin on the day.

Bloomsday is celebrated in Philadelphia, home to the manuscript of Ulysses, at the Rosenbach Museum, which houses it. The day consists of readings from the novel, songs, food, and just a general celebration of Joyce and his work. This celebration tends to spill out of Delancy St., (where the museum is) and into the rest of Center City, particularly Rittenhouse Square.

According to Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Trigger vol II the reason James Joyce chose June 16, 1904 as the day on which to set Ulysses is actually because that was the day on which Joyce and Nora Barnacle first had sexual relations of a sort (she masturbated him).
As Wilson puts it "Ireland remains Catholic and very, very, puritanical.It is Joyce's last and funniest joke that he has, by the sheer force of his genius and international reputation, tricked them into commemorating a Hand Job every year on June 16".

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