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National Yellow Pig Day! - July 17th

Updated on February 4, 2013

Strange, I know...

That was exactly my expression when I found out that National Yellow Pig Day actually exists. You know, that expression that you probably have on as you are reading about this oddity.

Yellow Pig Day, July 17, is a special day, especially for mathematicians. I thought this day was about a bunch of cute pigs that happened to be yellow. Turns out it's a little more complicated than that. So, my fellow readers, here is Yellow Pig Day in all of its glory.

Photocredit: Wikipedia - A collection of Kelly's yellow pigs

How Did it All Begin?

It all started one fine day in the 1960s at a prestigious ivy league school in Princeton, NJ. There were two math majors who went by the name of Michael Spivak and David C. Kelly. They received an assignment: analyze the properties of the number -- you guessed it -- 17. Clearly, these two were either bored, frustrated, or both, because instead of analyzing the number, they came up with one of the most bizarre holidays ever. They went wild and created a mystical creature called the Yellow Pig, which had 17 of everything: 17 eyelashes, 17 legs, 17 teeth, 17 toes...If you can think of a body part on a pig, it had 17 of them.

Pretty neat, huh?

Who Celebrates It?

Check your local university's math department. I'm sure there are few unique souls that have caught wind of it and celebrate it with zeal.

Spivak currently teaches at Hampshire College and runs a Summer in Mathematics Program, where the mythical creature is introduced to students. The biggest celebration of Yellow Pig Day is held at Hampshire College. On July 17th, the students wear shirts with yellow pigs, play a game of ultimate, and eat Yellow Pig Cake

Kelly displays his impressive collection of 289 (count 'em -- 289!) yellow pigs and gives a lecture about the history and properties of the number 17.

A few other schools, such as Princeton University and University of Chicago celebrate this day as well.

How To Celebrate Yellow Pig Day

Err....there seems to be no definite way to celebrate Yellow Pig Day, except to let your imagination run wild -- like the two founders. However, things that are usually done are eating Yellow Pig Cake, playing the game Ultimate, folding origami shapes of pigs, and singing Yellow Pig Day carols...whatever those are. Some people like to do things in sets of 17 on that day -- perhaps you might try that.

Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea what these things are exactly. But I did some scrounging on the net for a few ideas to get everyone started.

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    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 5 years ago from Manila Philippines

      learned something new again today! ^_^