Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate. An observer of this holiday should greet friends not with “Hello, everyone!” but with “Ahoy, maties!” or “Ahoy, me hearties!” The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy. Real pirates did not talk in that manner at all.
According to Summers, the day is the only known holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. During a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. That game took place on June 6th, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of the Normandy landings, they chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember.
The “holiday” was at first an inside joke between two friends, but it gained exposure when Baur and Summers sent a letter about their invented holiday to the US syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. Barry liked the idea and promoted the day, and later appeared in a cameo in their “Drunken Sailor” Sing Along A-Go-Go video. Growing media coverage of the holiday after Barry’s column has ensured that this event is now celebrated internationally, and Baur and Summers now sell books and T-shirts related to the theme on their website. Part of the success for the international spread of the holiday has been attributed to non-restriction of the idea or non-trademarking, in effect opening the holiday to creativity and “viral” growth.
The association of pirates with peglegs, parrots, and treasure maps, popularized in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island (1883), has had a significant influence on parody pirate culture. Talk Like a Pirate Day is celebrated with hidden easter egg features in many games and websites, with Facebook introducing a pirate-translated version of its website on Talk Like a Pirate Day 2008 and publisher O’Reilly discounting books on the R programming language to celebrate. In September 2014, Reddit added a pirate theme to their website.
English actor Robert Newton is the “patron saint” of Talk Like a Pirate Day. He portrayed pirates in several films, most notably Long John Silver in both the 1950 Disney film Treasure Island and the 1954 Australian film Long John Silver, and the title character in the 1952 film Blackbeard the Pirate. Newton was born in Dorset and educated in Cornwall, and it was his native West Country dialect, which he used in his portrayal of Long John Silver and Blackbeard, that some contend is the origin of the standard “pirate accent.” This was parodied in the 1950s and 1960s by British comedian Tony Hancock.
The archetypal pirate word “Arrr!” (alternatively “Rrrr!” or “Yarrr!”), which in West Country dialect means “yes”, first appeared in fiction as early as 1934 in the film Treasure Island starring Lionel Barrymore, and was used by a character in the 1940 novel Adam Penfeather, Buccaneer by Jeffery Farnol. However, it was Robert Newton’s use of it in the classic 1950 Disney film Treasure Island that popularized the interjection and made it widely remembered. It has been speculated that the rolling /r/, a distinctive element of the speech of the West Country of England, has been associated with pirates because of the West Country’s strong maritime heritage, where for many centuries fishing was the main official industry, and smuggling the major unofficial one, and where there were several significant ports. As a result, West Country speech in general, and Cornish speech in particular, may have been a key influence on generalized British nautical speech. “Avast,” for example, is Cornish dialect for “stop what you are doing” and became universal in the Royal Navy by the late 18th century.
This site provides some recipe ideas for pirate-themed parties https://www.craftsy.com/a/article/pirate-themed-recipes/ and this one gives a detailed recipe for making an apple “pie-rate” ship which is really an apple pie http://www.diamondsfordessert.com/2010/05/apple-pie-rate-ship.html I like the idea of making a ship-shaped pie (not shipshape – although it should be) using slack pastry, but I don’t believe an apple filling is best. I much prefer the idea of a meat pie for this pastry, and, were I to do this, I would use a filling similar to veal and ham pie: http://www.bookofdaystales.com/kenneth-grahame/ As such, it could be prepared ahead and served cold.