National Spam Day

Young woman joyfully holding a can of spam, wearing a chef's hat, retro kitchen setting, vintage apron..
National spam day illustration

Have you ever found yourself wrist-deep in a can of spam, thinking 'This delicious delicacy definitely deserves its own national day?' Well, your wish is the world's command! National Spam Day—a day where we ceremoniously crack open a can about this illustrious, versatile, and mysteriously canned meat.

When is Spam Day?

It's national spam day on the 31st July.

A Brief History of Spam

Surprisingly, Spam had been around long before it started cluttering our email inboxes. The original Spam, the canned meat kind, first hit the shelves in 1937 and quickly became an American staple, used in everything from breakfast to dinner, and of course, those middle of the night snack attacks.

National Spam Day on the Internet

The online history of National Spam Day is a relatively recent phenomenon. With 17 recorded mentions, it began popping up in the digital sphere around 2016 but the real 'meat' of the day was recognized on 31st July 2018, garnering the most mentions.

How to Celebrate National Spam Day

Celebrating National Spam Day can be as simple or extravagant as you want. You could simply crack open a can and enjoy the carnivorous bounty within. Alternatively, you can get inventive and create recipes all about this tin-wrapped delight. A Spam-themed dinner party? An art exhibition with Spam-inspired pieces? With Spam, the options are delightfully endless!

History behind the term 'Spam'


The Birth of the Term

The term 'spam' originated in 1937 as the name of a canned meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation. The popular canned ham, known as 'SPAM', was first introduced to the market and gained widespread popularity due to its convenience and long shelf life. The name 'SPAM' is actually a shortened form of 'spiced ham'.


Hormel introduces SPAM

In 1936, the American food company Hormel introduced SPAM, a canned precooked meat product made from pork and ham. SPAM quickly became popular due to its low cost and long shelf life, making it a convenient choice for many households.


The birth of SPAM in the food industry

In 1937, Hormel Foods Corporation, a meat-processing company based in the United States, introduced a new canned meat product called 'SPAM.' It was created by Jay C. Hormel, the son of the company's founder, and named by Ken Daigneau, a company actor. SPAM combined pork with ham and various seasonings to create a flavorful and affordable product that quickly gained popularity during the Great Depression.


Introduction of SPAM canned meat

In 1937, Hormel Foods Corporation introduced SPAM, a canned precooked meat product. SPAM quickly gained popularity due to its affordability, long shelf life, and versatility. It became a staple of many households during World War II, as it could be easily transported to soldiers overseas.


Use of the term 'spam' for unsolicited messages

The term 'spam' as we know it today originated from a sketch by the British comedy group Monty Python. In their sketch titled 'Spam', they repeatedly used the word 'SPAM' to represent a low-quality canned meat. Inspired by this sketch, members of the early internet community began using the term 'spam' to refer to unsolicited and excessive messages, particularly email.


The rise of spam in online communication

In 1970, the term 'spam' gained a new meaning in the realm of online communication. The usage of the word 'spam' to refer to unsolicited or unwanted messages originated from a sketch by the British comedy group Monty Python. The sketch humorously portrayed a restaurant with nearly every item on the menu containing SPAM, overwhelming the customers with its repetition. This inspired the term 'spam' to describe unwanted messages that inundate people's inboxes.


Monty Python's SPAM sketch

In the 1970s, the popular British comedy group Monty Python featured a sketch called 'SPAM' in one of their episodes. The sketch humorously portrayed a diner where nearly every menu item included SPAM. This sketch popularized the term 'spam' as a metaphor for unwanted or excessive messages.


Monty Python Connection

In 1970, the British comedy group Monty Python aired an episode of their popular sketch comedy show that forever changed the meaning of the term 'spam'. The episode featured a humorous sketch set in a restaurant where nearly every item on the menu contained spam. As the sketch progressed, a group of Vikings started chanting 'spam' repeatedly, drowning out all conversation. This sketch, known as the 'Spam' sketch, not only popularized the term as a reference to unwanted or excessive things but also played a significant role in the development of internet spam culture.


First documented spam email

On April 12, 1993, the first documented example of spam email was sent by a lawyer named Laurence Canter. The email, which promoted his immigration law services, was widely criticized and sparked a debate about the ethics of unsolicited mass email. This event marked the beginning of a significant increase in spam emails that continues to this day.


First recorded use of 'spam' for email

The term 'spam' was used for the first time to refer to unwanted or unsolicited email in 1994. It originated from a multi-user dungeon (MUD) game called 'TinyMUD' where players would flood the chat with repeated messages, mimicking the repetitive nature of the canned meat product SPAM.


The first recorded spam email

On April 12, 1993, the first recorded unsolicited bulk email, often referred to as 'spam email,' was sent by a lawyer named Laurence Canter. The email advertised a green card lottery service and was posted on various Usenet newsgroups, reaching a large number of recipients. The action sparked controversy and led to the widespread use of the term 'spam' to describe unwanted email messages.


The Birth of Internet Spam

The term 'spam' took on a new meaning in 1994 when a couple of lawyers, Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, sent out a massive number of unsolicited commercial messages via Usenet newsgroups. These messages, promoting their immigration law services, became known as the first instances of 'spamming'. The term quickly became associated with unwanted and unsolicited email and, eventually, any form of digital communication that is both irrelevant and sent in large quantities.


Internet spamming on Usenet

In 1996, the term 'spam' gained further prominence when a flood of unsolicited commercial messages overwhelmed the Usenet newsgroups. These messages were often unrelated to the topic of discussion and disrupted online conversations. This marked a significant turning point in the widespread use of 'spam' as a term for unwanted email or online content.


The establishment of anti-spam laws

In 1998, the United States enacted the first anti-spam law, known as the 'Can-Spam Act.' This legislation aimed to regulate commercial email messages and imposed penalties for deceptive practices, false header information, and failure to honor unsubscribe requests. The Act played a crucial role in combating spam and served as a model for similar laws in various countries around the world.


Anti-spam efforts and legislation

As spam became a growing nuisance on the internet, various anti-spam efforts were initiated. In 1998, the first anti-spam legislation was introduced in the form of the 'Junk Email Prevention Act'. However, the effectiveness of such legislation has been debated, and spammers continuously adapt their methods to evade filters and restrictions.


The significance of spam filters

As spam continued to plague email inboxes, the development of efficient spam filters became essential. In 2003, the open-source software known as 'SpamAssassin' was introduced. It utilized a range of techniques, including content analysis and pattern recognition, to identify and block spam emails. Spam filters have since become a standard feature in email services, helping users manage and reduce the amount of unwanted messages they receive.


Creation of the 'CAN-SPAM Act'

In 2003, the United States Congress passed the 'Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act' (CAN-SPAM Act) to regulate commercial email messages. The act sets certain requirements for commercial email senders, gives recipients the right to opt-out, and imposes penalties for violators. While the act has helped in combating some forms of spam, the battle against spam continues.


CAN-SPAM Act signed into law

In 2003, the United States Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act, which aimed to regulate commercial email and combat spam. The act established several requirements for commercial email senders, such as providing a valid opt-out mechanism and accurate sender information. While not completely eliminating spam, the act contributed to reducing the volume of unsolicited emails.


Ongoing battle against spam

Today, spam continues to be a significant issue in the digital world. Various anti-spam technologies, including content filtering and sender reputation systems, are employed to mitigate the impact of spam. However, spammers continuously adapt their techniques, making it an ongoing challenge to combat unwanted and often malicious messages.

Did you know?

Did you know that Spam is a combination of pork, salt, water, sugar and sodium nitrite? In fact, you can consider it an early pioneer of food recycling, as it was created to make use of the surplus of pork shoulder!


food fun rememberance celebration

First identified

22nd April 2016

Most mentioned on

31st July 2018

Total mentions


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