March 14 is National Pi Day. A day to celebrate the mathematical representation of the Greek letter π, a symbol that defines the circumference of a circle. In short, Pi is equal to 3.141592654 on a standard calculator. This is not an exact measurement, as Pi is an irrational number with no repeating patter and no end. National Pi Day is regularly celebrated by educators, math enthusiasts, and other STEAM-related groups. But it should come as no surprise that the food world loves to celebrate it too, and in modern times, many celebrate Pi day with, well, Pie.
National Pi Day will be celebrated on Thursday, March 14, 2024
The History Of Pi
Fun fact: March 14th is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.
The puzzle that revolves around the concept of Pi, is that if it represents that number of diameter lengths that fit around a circle, why does the number have no end? Mathematical experts dating all the way back to Newton and Fibonacci have studied pi, performing countless calculations attempting to solve the puzzle. There is evidence that the concept was being studied even in ancient Babylon and ancient Egypt. Archimedes was the first mathematician to calculate pi with an algorithm, by layering polygons over a circle.
What we know as Pi today, and the coordinating symbol, came to be during the mid-1600s. The word Pi was first used by William Oughtred in the publication Clavis Mathematicae, and Leonard Euler first used the symbol in 1737. The symbol, π, is the first letter of the Greek word perimetros, which translates to circumference.
While we are forced to shorten Pi to a decimal like 3.1415, technology has calculated this irrational number to more than 31 trillion digits. And although we could go on about the history and evolution of Pi, let’s get to the good stuff. Food.
National Pi Day
National Pi Day is NOT the same as National Pie Day. National Pi Day was founded in 1988 by a physicist named Larry Shaw. The first National Pi Day was celebrated at the San Francisco science museum, the Exploratorium. Festivities included a circular parade and fruit pie eating. Pi Day became a national holiday in 2009, when it was officially passed by the US House of Representatives. Yep, unlike many other food holidays, this one is really official. Still, there are no days off from work to celebrate, and mail is still delivered.
To celebrate National Pi Day, you can crunch numbers all day…or you can eat. Pie of all kinds are on the menu, and some places even offer deals and discounts to celebrate this special day. Pizza Pies and regular pies are the most commonly consumed in celebration of Pi Day, some restaurants chains offering them for a low price of $3.14.
Companies that have offered Pi Day Deals in the past include: Blaze Pizza, BJ’s Restaurant, Boston Market, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Papa Johns, Patxi’s Pizza, Round Table Pizza, 7-Eleven, The Pie Hole, Whole Foods Market, and CiCi’s.
Ways To Celebrate Pi Day
Here’s a list of ways to celebrate National Pi Day:
- Order your favorite pie from a local pie shop or restaurant.
- Bake a homemade pie – choose your favorite, or try something new.
- Host a bake sale, sell pies, and donate the money raised to a youth shelter, homeless shelter, or other organization.
- Have a pie eating contest.
- Have a pie fight with cream pies (best done in the back yard!).
- Eat other circular or ring shaped foods like pineapple rings, bagels, donuts, meatballs, pork buns, cookies, sushi, brie, etc.
- Other pies to eat: Pot pies, shepherds pie, quiche, fruit tarts.
- Go for a Pi Day Run — do a 3.14 mile jog, and then eat pie to celebrate your accomplishment.
- Bake cookies in a pi symbol.
- Make a pizza and practice fractions (or just eat the pizza).
- Take pizza or pie to your child’s school for lunch to celebrate in the classroom.
- Have a pie potluck at work – everyone bring a different type of pie including pizza, apple pie, cream pie, pot pie, etc.
- Watch a movie about math, or Life of Pi.
- Learn some Pi trivia or fun facts and share it with friends and family.
- Celebrate the Greek origin of Pi and have a Greek food feast with gyros, souvlaki, dolma, and baklava.
- Challenge your family to see who can memorize the most digits of Pi.
- Log on to the NASA site for math and science challenges.
- Make a playlist with songs about pie:
- American Pie by Don McLean
- Cherry Pie by Warrant
- Country Pie by Bob Dylan
- Honey Pie by The Beatles
- Custard Pie by Led Zeppelin
- Sweet Potato Pie by James Taylor
- Devil’s Pie by D’Angelo
- Key Lime Pie by Kenny Chesney
Try these Pi(e)s to celebrate National Pie Day: