In case you’re wondering if I’ve got the date wrong and forgotten how to spell, today is not Pi Day (an international celebration of the mathematical constant π). I discovered earlier today that it is National Pie Day in the United States of America.
This annual festival, which I’ve never previously heard of, is organised by the American Pie Council (I kid you not!), an organisation which, according to Wikipedia, is committed to “preserving America’s pie heritage and promotes America’s love affair with the food”.
I suppose it’s no stranger really to have a day celebrating a food than it is to have one celebrating a number. As far as I can tell, though, the date of this celebration is entirely arbitrary whereas Pi Day is celebrated on a date of special significance to the thing being celebrated (14th March, or 3.14 according to one way of writing the date).
Although it is not officially an international celebration, I see no reason not to celebrate Pie Day outside the United States. After all, pies have been in existence since long before the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to their brave new world (the first ones, apparently, were found in stone-age Egypt) and so, while I don’t deny that the US has a rich pie heritage, they certainly can’t claim that pie is a uniquely or originally American invention. (OK, I suppose they could claim it, but they’d be wrong!)
If I’d had more time to plan things, I might have gone for a full banquet of pies of the world. As it was, I had to settle for a few miniature pork pies and apple pies and a slightly larger Bakewell tart with which to mark this auspicious day. Perhaps next year, I’ll push the boat out a bit further.
Incidentally, this is the second time this week I’ve come across an American national celebration which seems worth importing. It was National Hug Day (aka National Hugging Day) on Tuesday. This, like National Pie Day (as far as I can tell) is an entirely unofficial celebration and not a public holiday but it does have its own website and seems to be taking off in other countries. Interestingly, at least a couple of languages there seem to describe it as International Hugging Day (Международен ден на прегръдката, which is apparently in Bulgarian – I thought it was in Russian until I looked up the last word, which I didn’t recognise) or World Hug Day (Weltknuddeltag, which is in German).
I think pies and hugs are both things worth celebrating – though both should be enjoyed a lot more than once a year!