“The Yellow Pig is believed to have originated with mathematicians Michael Spivak and David C. Kelly, while they were students at Princeton University in the early 1960s. They began listing interesting properties of the number 17, and somehow the 17-eyelashed yellow pig was born.” (Source: Wikipedia)
How to Celebrate
“The most elaborate festivities are held at Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, where the holiday has been celebrated annually for roughly 34 years. In preparation for the event, students decorate shirts (often mathematically themed) with yellow pigs on them. On Yellow Pigs Day students, staff, and visiting alumni wear these shirts. Ultimate has long been the official sport of the day, and a competitive student/alumni game is held. In recent years, origami yellow pigs have been folded.
David Kelly gives a lecture on the historical and mathematical properties of the number 17, and his impressive collection of well over 289 (17 squared) yellow pigs is on display. The celebration concludes with the singing of Yellow Pigs Day carols and the eating of a yellow pig cake. Gifts containing or consisting of yellow pigs and mathematical knick knacks featuring the manifold properties of 17 are frequently exchanged among friends.
Many attendees of HCSSiM have gone on to become practicing mathematicians, and have encouraged the celebration of the day at their institutions. Yellow Pigs Day celebrations are known to have taken place at several other locations, including:
- Princeton University, where students have celebrated Yellow Pig’s Day for many decades
- University of Chicago, during the 1970s
- Boston, in 2002 and 2003
- Canada/USA Mathcamp, where staff has included former HCSSiM attendees
- Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, celebrates Yellow Pig Day during their Summer@ICERM undergraduate program.”
To celebrate this day, we selected the 2005 Tsingtao Beer Can from China. This can is #5 of the Tsingtao Horoscope set. On the can we see a yellow pig holding a class of beer.
Happy Yellow Pigs Day (7/17)!
Photos used by permission of CanMuseum.com