Pyjama Trivia - Humphrey's Pyjama Week, 10-14 Oct

7th October 2011 at 01:00

Night riders: five pyjama facts


Where did they come from?

The word "pyjama" or "pajama" derives from the Persian word peyjama, meaning "foot garment", and was incorporated into the English language during the British Raj - the result of a British presence in South Asia, where garments of this style were worn by Sikh men and Muslims of both sexes. Learn more about the British empire with a resource shared by Emily Thomas.


From the youthful characters in JM Barrie's Peter Pan to the popular kids' show Bananas in Pyjamas, the garments bring back fond childhood memories for most of us. Teach children about the importance of early-morning routines through a card presentation shared by Kirby Woods.


Pyjamas symbolise childhood, innocence and safety, so their image was effective in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. An adaptation of John Boyne's novel, the story tells of a forbidden friendship between the eight-year- old son of a Nazi commandant and a child inmate of a concentration camp. See cmoore67's popular resource for teaching tools on this text at KS3.


The phrase "the cat's pyjamas" means "the height of excellence" and became popular in the United States in the 1920s (pyjamas at the time were still new enough to be daring). But not all popular phrases of the time endured. "The eel's ankle" and "capybara's spats" have slipped into oblivion. Learn the origins of such quotes in the book Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pyjamas.



The Pajama Game launched the career of future Hollywood star Shirley MacLaine, who performed the lead role for months after the star for whom she was under-studying suffered a broken ankle. The musical, which remains a popular choice for school productions, introduces the notions of fair pay and strikes. Read about Britain's trade unions and their battles in a resource from the Working Class Movement Library. Don't forget to leave feedback.

All links and resources can be found at


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