What's the Difference Between National Pie Day and Pi Day? An Explainer

Saturday is all about the sweets—at least, one particular type of sweet. January 23 marks National Pie Day, a delicious-sounding day of recognition that's dedicated to the comforting, delectable treat.

Now, maybe you've enjoyed plenty of pie recently, as a part of other holidays. Perhaps you bit into some Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving, or savored a slice of French Silk on Christmas. But on National Pie Day—which is apparently sponsored by the American Pie Council and has been since 1986—you have another excuse to visit your local bakery or cook up your own crust.

Just don't confuse Pie Day with Pi Day. No, that last one isn't a typo—it's a day that's associated with the numeral Pi. You might remember it from math class: It's an irrational number with an infinite number of digits, but it's usually represented by the figure 3.14. (If you can list out the next seven or so digits after that, congratulations—treat yourself to a pie.) Anyway, Pi Day falls on March 14 every year. March 14... 3.14... get it? It's a math joke.

Pi Day is a big hit within educational institutions and among math enthusiasts. It's an international holiday, and those who care enough to celebrate it are encouraged to bake pies and also memorize as much of the famous number as they can.

Mince pies wait to be eaten before the Wookey Hole Big Eat Mince Pie Eating Contest, at the Wookey Hole Show Caves on November 29, 2006, in Wookey Hole, near Wells, England. Matt Cardy/Getty Images/Getty

So, as if it wasn't confusing enough that these two semi-eccentric holidays have nearly identical names, Pi Day also involves actual pies. January 23, however, really is intended to just focus on the dessert, and not on any mathematical puns. That means you can spend Saturday just feasting on some pie, and not have to worry about reciting any numbers.

Believe it or not, though, those aren't the only two days on the calendar that prioritize pie. There's a second National Pie Day, too, which falls on December 1, so it really wasn't that long ago. Between these two commemorative days, the more commercial holidays that come in November and December, and then Pi Day in March—it might be a bit much, even for us.

Then again, who can resist a delicious filling, flaky crust and some whipped cream on top? And besides, who needs to carve out a specific day to carve up a slice of pie? The dessert might be typically associated with the holiday season, but pie's good for pretty much any occasion—even a lazy Saturday spent catching up on TV.

If you do end up celebrating National Pie Day on Saturday, share some photos online with the hashtag #NationalPieDay.