It’s pi day!

In the last few decades, Americans have found a wide variety of odd holidays to celebrate. Usually though getting businesses to offer special sale promotions and nearly spontaneous events.

Today is one of those: in standard American dating, 3-14 is of course the first three numbers of the value of pi, 3.14. Engineers like us here at TPOL usually use a few more digits: 3.14159 but (hopefully, good engineering practice) round to just 2 or 3 digits. The more persnickety scientist types like this: 3.141592653589793238462643. There is even a bunch of flags associated with “World Pi Day.”

A “Republic of Pi” flag.

But in popular American and commercial culture, it is the opportunity to sell various things: pies of all kinds, especially pizza pies. One chain we’re aware of is offering their personal pizzas for $3.14 today – almost half the normal price. Other promotions and sales are common. Schools and colleges often promote it as a way of emphasizing math skills.

(For those who are a bit forgetful of their junior-high math, pi is a constant: the number that when multiplied by the diameter of a circle gives the length of the perimeter: the circumference.)

There are others: Some special commemorations are associated just with the date, and not anything that happened on a given date:

4/20 is now claimed as a “national cannabis day” by many. According to Time magazine, this dates back to Marin County in 1971, but has spread to the entire nation in the last fifty years. As more and more States legalize both medical and recreational marijuana, this date is an opportunity for sales and special events.

May 4th is a celebration associated with fans of the Star Wars franchise, from the movies’ phrase, “May the Force (Fourth0 be with you,” and many stores use this opportunity to offer promotions, release games and publications, and encourage special events.

Humans love to celebrate special days – whether they are official “government” holidays or just popular (or promoted) celebrations. Usually, but not always, an event that happened on a particular day is comemmorated. As many do both 19 April (Lexington and Concord Day, Patriot Day, etc.) and 11 September (9-11; Bloody Tuesday) for the attacks. Sometimes, as with Catholic and other denominational “Saint’s Days” the exact date of recognition is fairly arbitrary.

This goes back a very long way – to what some call prehistory: as people developed ways to track the seasons through astronomy, certain days have become important milestones, and as a result some events have taken place on those dates.

What does this have to do with politics?

Dates and anniversaries are often used to remind people of important, even world-changing events. Examples include American Independence Day, the Fourth of July. Some are important dates to rally supporters of certain causes, like the Fifth of May (Cinco de Mayo, from the Battle of Puebla in 1862 when Mexican rebels defeated French forces. Others were selected for political purposes, like the European “Labor Day” of the First of May.

Regardless of the relationship, special dates, whether celebrated annually or upon a tenth or fiftieth or hundredth anniversary, are opportunities to encourage advocates. And even put fear into the hearts of political opponents.

For example, most of the nations (tribes) of the “Great Sioux Nation” – especially the Lakota – celebrate the 25th of June each year as “Little Big Horn” or “Greasy Grass” Day. They celebrate the defeat of the 7th US Cavalry Regiment (and death of Brevet Major General George A Custer) on the banks of the Little Big Horn River in Montana in 1876. (The Lakota name for the stream translates to “Greasy Grass.”)

Taking advantage of such anniversaries, as well as special days (whether “holidays” or not) is often a valuable tool to teach liberty.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
This entry was posted in Commentary on the News, History of Liberty, Ideas for liberty, Nathan's Rants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s