National Fig Newton Day
annually on January 16th
Fig Newtons are cookies filled with fig paste or jam, which are a trademarked variation of the fig roll; they are manufactured by Nabisco, a company owned by Mondelez International. As Nabisco now uses different flavored jams in the cookies besides figs, including berries and apples, the brand is no longer called "Fig Newtons," but simply ""Newtons." Nonetheless, today celebrates the fig variety of the Newton.
Figs originated in Asia Minor and fig rolls were created in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. Figs were introduced to the Western Hemisphere by the Spaniards, who brought them to Hispaniola in 1520. Two men are credited with the invention of what would become the Fig Newton. John Henry Mitchell developed a machine in 1892 that put a jam filling in a hollow cookie crust. He brought the machine to the Kennedy Biscuit Works—also known as the F.A. Kennedy Steam Bakery—in Cambridgeport, a neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company tried out the machine and named the creation "Newton's cakes," after the nearby Boston suburb of Newton. In 1898, Kennedy Biscuit Works combined with other companies to form the National Biscuit Country, which began being known as Nabisco a few years later. Charles Roser is also credited in having a hand in creating would would become the Fig Newton; he may have created the recipe that was sold to the Kennedy Biscuit Works. There is some uncertainty about Roser's role, but the bakery likely combined Roser's recipe with Mitchell's machine to create the Fig Newton.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by eating Fig Newtons. Although it's best to eat the official brand, you could always buy some off-brand fig rolls, or make your own. Newtons don't need to be eaten plain; there are many recipes they can be used in. If you are up for a road trip, you could see the factory in Cambridge where the Fig Newton was first made, which is on the National Register of Historical Places.