Ahoy, mateys! September 19 be Talk Like a Pirate Day every coming of the year.

Okay, okay – we can’t do it.

But, we can certainly investigate the origins of International Talk Like a Pirate Day (yes, it’s international, how cosmopolitan of it) and explain why Portlanders seem to adore the holiday each year when September 19 rears on its haunches.

Let’s Start with the Basics

International Talk Like a Pirate Day was started back in the 1990s when, wait for it, a couple of Oregonians from Albany (there’s not much to do down there) decided to proclaim September 19 as the day of the year when every person in the world should speak like a pirate, swapping out common language with, well, the language pirates used to speak back in the days of yore (when the heck is “yore,” anyway?).

The two culprits are John Baur (whose pirate name is “Ol’ Chumbucket”) and Mark Summers (“Cap’n Slappy”). Summers tells the origin of the parody holiday as a result of a racquetball game that got rowdy between the two Albanians (hmmm… that doesn’t sound right). One of the two got injured and exclaimed, “Aaarrr!” out of pain.

Seriously. That’s how it started.


On to the Details

The deeper elements of the story reveal that the actual game took place on June 6, however the two wanted to show respect for the observance of the Normandy landings in World War II, so they selected Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday – September 19.

Although International Talk Like a Pirate Day started as an inside joke, the idea exploded on the scene like a cannonball (take that, Miley Cyrus!) when the pair sent a letter to Dave Barry, a humorist, who fell in love the idea and wrote about it in 2002.

Why Portland?

Portlanders do love their weirdness, and the fact the day birthed in our home state means that many residents will claim it as one of their sister city’s inventions. Over the years, Portland has hosted Talk Like a Pirate Festivals to celebrate the event and restaurants often host featured specials on the day such as when Krispy Kreme gave away free donuts in 2016.

Want to Join in on the Fun?

Care to get savvy and pillage the day to show the landlubbers you ain’t no scallywag?

What other weird and wacky Portland holidays do you enjoy (or hate)? Bury your treasures in the comments!

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