National Barbie Day

National Barbie Day is a holiday that’s celebrated on this doll’s birthday—March 9th. Barbie officially debuted on March 9, 1959, to the delight of little girls all over the world, and since her debut, Mattel has released a seemingly endless supply of accessories that can be used with this doll. This includes everything from different clothing lines to cars and playhouses. Since she’s been a central part of many people’s imaginations, this holiday is a good day to join in on the fun and celebrate a cultural icon that has been going for over 62 years.

The History of Barbie

Barbie’s origins can be traced back to Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, who decided that little girls needed a creative outlet. She was watching her daughter play with paper dolls and it suddenly dawned on her that there was a need for a toy with which girls could identify and one that would encourage creative play. She then went on to create a three-dimensional doll for girls that allowed them to act out the things that only lived in their dreams. This would be officially released to the public on March 9, 1959, at the New York Toy Fair.

Unfortunately, when the doll was released to the public, it wasn’t met with the enthusiasm that Ruth had anticipated. Instead, it was met with quite a bit of skepticism by the toy industry. This didn’t stop Ruth, however, and she worked to ensure that the toy received the respect it deserved. Now, many decades later, Barbie has not only become a bestseller but also a cultural icon. Barbie has been very busy over the last six decades, considering that this doll has had over 180 different careers.

Fun Barbie Facts

Anyone who thinks that Barbie is just another plastic toy had better rethink their position because there’s a lot more going on with her. She’s a doll that not only has earned her place in the pop lexicon but is also one that has quite a storied history. Below are some fun facts that illustrate just a handful of the things that most people might not know about this doll.

  • Barbie is named after Ruth Handler’s daughter.
  • Ken is named after Ruth’s son.
  • In 1965, Slumber Party Barbie came with a weight loss book. One of the tips in the book was “Don’t Eat.”
  • Barbie’s design was based on an R-rated German doll named Lilli.
  • Barbie was designed by an ex-Pentagon weapons engineer named Jack Ryan.
  • Barbie used to have a twin named Tutti, but she wasn’t produced after 1971.
  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  • Barbie is from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin.
  • The original Barbie could be bought as either a blonde or a brunette.
  • Barbie didn’t start smiling until 1971—when Mattel released Malibu Barbie.
  • Barbie started her first career in 1960.
  • Ken made his debut in 1961.

Observing National Barbie Day

National Barbie Day can be observed in numerous ways. People can pull their favorite Barbies out of storage and either play with them or introduce them to a younger generation. People can throw a Barbie-themed birthday party and invite their friends and family. And finally, people can visit the Barbie Museum in Montreal, Canada.

When is it?
This year (2024)
March 9 Saturday
Next year (2025)
March 9 Sunday
Last year (2023)
March 9 Thursday
Fun & Joy