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The History of the Piggy Bank

Find out where they came from—the answer might surprise you!

Do you have a piggy bank in your room? Maybe you saw one in your favorite movie or book? Do you know why we keep our coins in cute little pigs?

The answer to that last one is that it’s a mistake. Or a few mistakes.kids holding piggy banks

Way back in history, people all over kept all sorts of things in clay pots. Clay pots didn’t cost a lot and were pretty easy to make into whatever shape and size was needed. Want to keep coins safe? Make a pot with a really small opening on top. Now cut a slot in that jar big enough to drop coins in.

Imagine if you put two little dots on the other side from where the slot is, then when you look down it looks like a pig! Two eyes, a round nose sticking out, a small mouth under that. Since pigs are rolling around in mud all day, the pot and the pig would even be the same color.

Pots like that used as banks didn’t mean to look like pigs, they just did!

In England, during the middle ages, they used a clay called pygg to make their pots. Back then they would say that word like “pug,” like the goofy-looking dog. Over time, the way people said letters changed. Pygg went from sounding like “pug” to sounding like “pig”. Although puggy banks would be cool too.

A lot of places used to, and still do, think of pigs as lucky. From China all the way to Germany, people think of pigs as a sign of good luck! Keeping your money inside of something lucky isn’t such a bad idea!

So over time, small clay pots that sort of looked like pigs and made from a clay that sounded like “pig” turned into small pig-shaped jars, looking like an animal a lot of people considered lucky!

Tip: Keep a list of everything you put in your piggy bank. Sometimes it can be hard to tell just how much is in there. If you keep a list, when you need to take money out to buy something, you can just subtract that from the last total. It will save you lots of time instead of having to shake it all out and count it every time!

 
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