National Pink Day is celebrated on June 23 every year. As you might imagine, it’s a day to celebrate the meaning, history, and beauty of the pale shade of red. Surveys in both the United States and Europe found pink to be most commonly associated with femininity, sensitivity and tenderness. From pink being a subject of recent pop culture, to interesting facts about the delightful shade throughout time, the day celebrates all things pink. After all, as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” once famously said, “Whoever said orange is the new pink is seriously disturbed!”
History of National Pink Day
As is the case with a number of digital-age holidays, the exact origins and celebrations of National Pink Day are lost in time. What we do know is that when combined with white, pink has long been a symbol of femininity, grace, and chastity, whereas when combined with black, it calls up the prurient interests.
In reverse chronological order, starting with recent pop culture, pink as a color and word has had many uses. In the 90s-era Aerosmith song “Pink,” Steven Tyler croons, “Pink on the lips of your lover / ‘Cause pink is the love you discover…” This is an illustration of the sense of femininity and romance the color has come to represent. But believe it or not, in the old days, pink was worn by boys in infancy and was considered a “stronger” color than blue. Before the 1940s, that’s just how it was.
Even farther back, in the 1700s, we have the first use of the word “pink” to describe pale red, derived from the class of flowers called “the pinks.” Until then, pink was simply that, a flower, and the use of the word referred to a flower in the sense of, “His mother is the flower of dependability,” as in, the paragon or the prime example. In fact, the character Mercutio in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” has a line in which he says, “Nay, I am the very pinck of curtesie,” of course meaning he’s the most well-mannered chap you’re likely to find!
It’s not uncommon today for men to own and wear a couple of pink dress shirts, a phenomenon that evolved in the 1980s when the browns and mustard-yellows of the 70s finally fell out of fashion. Perhaps pink business clothing was first meant as a sign of solidarity with the then-burgeoning feminist movement.
In the interest of staying sharp, staying current, let’s hear from the singer Pink on human nature. “True beauty is knowing who you are and what you want and never apologizing for it.” That’s the true attitude not only of the American songstress, but the color pink itself.
National Pink Day timeline
The phrase “pink-colored,” in reference to the flowers, is first recorded.
Men who went out wearing embroidered pink clothing were considered masculine and fashionable.
The Baby Boomers are the first generation to have gender roles and preferences assigned to them from birth, signified by pink infant clothes for girls, blue for boys.
A separate holiday, the International Day of Pink, is started in Nova Scotia, Canada, as a response to homophobic, transphobic bullying in schools.
National Pink Day FAQs
What does pink mean?
The color pink is the color of universal love of oneself and of others. Pink represents friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability.
When was “hot pink” invented?
The bright fluorescent pink we associate with that phrase came about as “shocking pink” in 1931, first mixed by artist Elsa Schiaparelli.
What is the most masculine incarnation of the color pink?
That would probably be the “Pink Panther” Land Rover Series 2A used by the British Special Air Service (badass commandos) in desert warfare. It was claimed that pink was the best camouflage color when viewed at a distance against a backdrop of sand.
How To Celebrate National Pink Day
Wear something pink
Whether you deck yourself out head to toe, or just add a simple Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon to your lapel, be sure to celebrate pink in all its glory today.
Stand up for a “pink” cause
Speaking of Breast Cancer Awareness, that’s just one of the causes you can talk to friends about or make a donation to today. Anything from hanging a poster of the LGBTQ pink triangle in the break room, to becoming a yearly executive-level donor to the International Day of Pink’s coffers, it’s time to “think outside the red.”
Experiment with the hue on canvas
What proportions of cadmium red and titanium white make the best shade of pink for your painting? Don’t know? Enroll in a class, or hang out with an artist friend, and talk pink today.
5 Amazing Facts About The Color Pink
It was in Jack London’s book “John Barleycorn” that an alcoholic first hallucinated “pink elephants,” a phrase that is often referred to today in 12-step groups.
“Pinking shears” do not change the color of the garment they’re used on, but rather denote the decoration of a hem with a zigzag pattern, a meaning of “to pink” (or, pierce with holes) from the Middle Ages.
We don’t need no education
The famous trip-rock band Pink Floyd’s name was chosen by their original lead singer, Syd Barrett, as a conflation of two old-time blues artists’ names, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.
In the MTV video for the 1997 Aerosmith song “Pink,” a portion had to be edited out because it briefly showed a woman’s bare breast.
Not Homer Simpson
If the word “pink” hasn’t always been around, the color has, with the phrase “rosy-fingered dawn” appearing in Homer’s “Odyssey” in approximately 800 BCE.
Why We Love National Pink Day
The color is just plain pretty
Whether you’re the one wearing it or the one it’s being worn for, pink is pretty, from nails to dresses to hair, exuding an air of calm beauty laced with confidence and poise.
It raises awareness for pink causes
Especially in a rocky political climate, our friends, colleagues, and peers who identify as LBGTQ need support and encouragement. National Pink Day reminds us that as members of American society, it’s our responsibility to join in the fight, too.
It reminds us of flowers
National Pink Day is a good day for carnations, for love notes, for subtly-hued sunrises. Hey, it’s a holiday, right? We love to celebrate, and a glass of rosé never hurts, either!
National Pink Day dates