Talk Like a Pirate Day was born in 1995, when two friends from Oregon jokingly created the holiday while playing racquetball. They celebrated it quietly for a few years, sharing the joke with a small group of friends. One day in 2002, they wrote to humor columnist Dave Barry asking him to be the spokesperson for National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Amused by the idea, Barry agreed. He wrote a column about the holiday, giving it national prominence and spawning a wave of Talk Like a Pirate Day events and celebrations across the country.
From Treasure Island to Pirates of the Caribbean, pirates continue to capture our imagination. Romanticized in literature and film as rugged outlaws, pirates have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. First recorded in Asian seas after the collapse of the Chinese Han dynasty in the 2nd century, piracy grew across the world with the increase in maritime technology and ocean commerce that happened after the discovery of the New World.
When we think of pirates, we commonly picture the so-called Golden Age of Piracy as described in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” Published in 1883, the adventure novel was hugely influential in creating the pirate as a pop culture stereotype. “Treasure Island” gave us X-marked maps, shoulder-perched parrots, and buried treasure, motifs that continue to anchor any pirate-themed set.
Opened in 1967, Disneyland’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride remains one of the park’s most popular attractions. The last attraction Walt worked on before his death, “Pirates” immerses visitors in the richly detailed world of a Caribbean port falling victim to plunder.
Unfortunately, most of the fun phrases we attribute to pirates are pure fiction. But that doesn’t need to keep you from enjoying this good-humored holiday with your friends!