Winnie the Pooh Day is celebrated on January 18th of each year and was established in remembrance of Alan Alexander Milne’s birthday.
Alan Alexander Milne (pronounced /ˈmɪln/) (18 January 1882 –31 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. Milne was almost always credited as A. A. Milne.
Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic bear created by A. A. Milne. The first of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926, and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927).
Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. Christopher’s toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl and Rabbit, as well as the Gopher character, who was added in the Disney version. Christopher Robin’s toy bear is now on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York.
Christopher Milne had named his toy bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear which he often saw at London Zoo, and “Pooh”, a swan they had met while on holiday. The bear cub was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colbourn in White River, Ontario, Canada, while en route to England during the First World War. He named the bear “Winnie” after his adopted hometown in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Winnie” was surreptitiously brought to England with her owner, and gained unofficial recognition as The Fort Garry Horse regimental mascot. Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo, as she had become a much loved attraction there. Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.