Story and photo by Andrea Sutherland
The month of March is officially National Women’s History Month and National Irish American Heritage Month. March has also been designated Red Cross Month, National Nutrition Month, National Frozen Food Month and Adopt-a-Rescued-Guinea-Pig Month.
March 17 is the formal day of honor for Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. But lesser known days of recognition include National Pig Day (March 1), Popcorn Lover’s Day (March 8) and National Chip and Dip Day (March 23).
Bob Matthews, creator of Holidayinsights.com, said anybody can create a holiday for any cause.
“People call me all the time to say ‘I want to create Green Day, White Day or Blue Horse Day,’” he said. “You start by defining your cause. Start a website and build an event and a purpose. It’s amazing how quickly things catch on.”
Matthews’ site features hundreds of holidays, including Dance Like a Chicken Day (May 14), Bald and Free Day (Oct. 7) and Eight Track Tape Day (April 11).
“My favorites are Pirate Day (Sept. 19), Near Miss Day (March 23) and UFO Day (July 2),” he said.
Matthews said that to truly distinguish a national holiday takes an act of Congress, however, a national following can be created with a simple website.
From elementary schools to business corporations, March 14 has been celebrated as a holiday — Pi Day.
The Greek Letter and mathematical constant, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and is approximately equal to 3.14. In 1988, Larry Shaw, a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium, organized the first celebration of Pi Day on March 14, or 3-14 as the dateline would read. March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.
Schools across the nation capitalized on the holiday, which was formally recognized by Congress as a national holiday in 2009.
At Patriot Elementary School, teachers devoted the entire day to math lessons and Principle Gary Duncan purchased 55 pizza pies so each classroom could enjoy a special Pi Day treat.
But the students couldn’t just enjoy the pizza. They had to earn it through math and reasoning problems.
“Mr. Duncan has ordered each class two pizzas each cut into eight slices,” said Sarah Ellzey, first-grade teacher. “We have 16 slices total, but 26 kids. How do we make sure everybody has a slice?”
The first graders offered suggestions on how to divide up the pizza, eventually settling on dividing each piece in half.
“It’s all math for Pi Day,” said Marlene Edelstein, second grade teacher. “We’re learning about geometric shapes, weighing and addition with dominoes.”
The Pi Day phenomenon has even reached the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with decision letters being mailed to prospective students March 14.
Although there are only a few days left in March, community members can still celebrate Something on a Stick Day (Wednesday), I am in Control Day (March 30) and Bunsen Burner Day (March 31).
Editor’s note: The Mountaineer staff is currently pursuing the designation of “Slow News Week” to be added to the list of holidays in March.