The unique and wonderful name Reed gets to shine on National Reed Day, which is a special celebration of the name held on May 23 each year. For all the Reeds out there — surprisingly not as many as you’d think — this day is a festive occasion to honor the name they were given. When Reed is used both as a first name and a last name, holding celebratory events to honor this word is exactly the right thing to do!
History of National Reed Day
The name Reed is “very well-traveled” having originated — according to one theory — as a nickname. It then became a surname, and finally, started appearing as a first name in English-speaking countries around the world.
According to the “nickname” theory, Reed was a special nickname inspired by a person’s red hair or red complexion. It comes from the Middle English term for ‘read,’ which was spelled ‘reade.’
One theory said to inspire the usage of Reed was that many people resided near a place called Reed — as in Rede in Suffolk or Reed in Hertfordshire. Another theory was that people lived in woodland areas, which were initially called ‘ried’ or ‘ryd’ in old English.
People believe that the surname itself was first used by a family in Northumberland, England in ancient times.
The name made its transition to a nickname, and then a first name at about the same period, although exact dates for these events have not yet been determined.
Immigrants coming to the Americas in the 18th century brought this name with them, prominently the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) families. The name went on to become a relatively common surname in most English-speaking countries and ranked 55th in the U.S. in 1990. As a first name, Reed is rare and has always fluctuated on the charts. The usage of this name peaked in the early 1990s but declined slightly after this period. Today, Reed remains an uncommon and unique first name across the U.S. and English-speaking countries for both males and females.
National Reed Day timeline
Lewis Allan Reed or Lou Reed helps shape almost 50 years of American rock music and is considered an icon and a massively influential singer-songwriter and guitarist.
Reed is used as a character name on many television shows, appearing in shows like “Party of Five” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Wilmot Reed Hastings, popularly known by his middle name Reed,’ co-founds a world-famous online streaming service, Netflix.
Professional golfer and actor Reed Howard, Jurassic Park’s Bryce Dallas Howard’s younger brother, is born.
National Reed Day FAQs
Is Reed a rare name?
Reed was used as a common name and surname, particularly in English-speaking countries around the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, Reed appears on most baby name charts but is used sparingly as a baby name.
What did the reed in Jesus’s hand represent?
The “Bible” tells us an ornamented reed (which represented authority) was placed in Jesus’s right hand in derision after a crown of thorns was placed on his head.
Is Reed a cool name?
Reed is most definitely a cool name. It can be linked to nature, music, and even ye olde English.
National Reed Day Activities
Learn about other Reeds
Wondering who else shares this name? Create your own Reed name chart, adding all the famous people named Reed. Why not add to the fun by checking out how these people got their names?
Learn about the first Reed family
Read up on the people who first used the surname Reed and trace their genealogy. You will discover that the name was later found in parts of the U.K., U.S., Canada, and Scotland.
Check out the “Fantastic Four” series
Watch Mister Fantastic (aka Reed Richards) in action in the “Fantastic Four” movie series. Or, if you’re up to it, grab a “Fantastic Four” comic book and settle down for a day of bookish fun.
5 Facts About Reed You Cannot Ignore
Reid ranks 11th on the chart
Reid, another perfectly valid spelling of Reed, is very often seen as a conventionally Scottish name and ranks 11th on the most popular surnames chart.
Reed has many alternative spellings
The name has many alternative spellings or versions — Reade, Ried, Read, Reade, and Reede.
Reed is a surprisingly popular stage name
The name has been adopted by a large number of famous people, like award-winning director Reed Cowan, philanthropist Reed Erickson, and author and musician Reed Ghazala.
Reed is gender-neutral
This classic name is known for being unisex, although girls named Reed have rarely been recorded in most countries around the world.
It has stayed on baby name charts
Reed consistently appears on the American charts of baby names, even though it has never made it to the top.
Why We Love National Reed Day
It’s a classic name
Despite its timeless nature, Reed still sounds fresh and elegant, as though it were an alias of the suave James Bond. If it weren’t so special, would Steve Jobs have named his son Reed?
The name has been around for a long time, but it is far from being an overused name. This simple one-syllable name is also one of the oldest surnames in use, making it quite the trailblazer.
It reminds us of the outdoors
The name evokes memories of nature and greenery. Not only is the name ‘deer’ spelled backward, but the word ‘reed’ refers to a slender plant that resembles grass and grows on marshy land. What could be more outdoorsy than that?
National Reed Day dates