It’s that time of year againâ€”when the word “arrr” is given godlike status in the vernacular, and “shiver me timbers” may be uttered far and wide. No, it’s not a Pirates of the Caribbean premiere; it’s the annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day. On September 19th pirate enthusiasts everywhere will celebrate the whimsical holiday’s 12th anniversary.
In 1995 two American friends, John Baur and Mark Summers, brainstormed the idea while playing racquetball. International Talk Like a Pirate Day was popularized in 2002 by Pulitzer Prize winning humor columnist and bestselling author Dave Barry in his Miami Herald column. Barry was enticed to promote the holiday after Baur implored him in e-mail, “We are dinghy-sized-talk-like-a-pirate kinda guys, but you, Dave… you are like a frigate-huge-sized-talk-like-a-pirate kinda guy.”
Following Barry’s column the holiday gathered global momentum and, according to the creators’ web site, officially became an “international” holiday after the story was picked up by Australian media. In the five years since, International Talk Like a Pirate Day has enjoyed increasing popularity and gained a firm foothold in pop culture. References to the holiday include a question on Jeopardy and a feature in Reader’s Digest.
This year, would-be pirates around the world will continue tradition by injecting pirate vocabulary into their everyday speech. Many web sites offer additional ways to celebrate, such as pirate ring tones on the Talk Like a Pirate Day British Headquarters site. Whether participation is as simple as using the occasional phrase or as involved as a head-to-toe costume replete with swash and buckle, Baur and Summers offer suggestions and how-to articles for making the most of the holiday on their web site. For more information or answers to burning questions such as “What’s a chumbucket?” visit their FAQs. Interested media can visit their Press Room.
Dina Ely is a journalist, poet, and author of short fiction. Readers can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org