Redhead Appreciation Day on September 23 reminds us of the beauty and uniqueness of red-haired people. They possess the rarest hair shade and are often associated with having a “fiery” or “hot-tempered” nature. Whether that’s true or not, we can’t deny that redheads are like rare birds of paradise, making up just four percent of the world’s population! Nicknamed gingers, carrot-tops, flame-haired, “ranga”, “bluey,” redheads can often feel like outcasts and stand out in the crowd. So if you are a redhead, or have a redhead friend or family member, today is the day to appreciate them in all their flaming glory!
History of Redhead Appreciation Day
Although natural red hair is more commonly admired now due to its distinctiveness, redheads have dealt with mixed attitudes towards them throughout history. Alternatively admired or ridiculed for the color of their crowning tresses, outlooks on red hair have always been polarized. Throughout time, redheads have been portrayed as beautiful and brave or else promiscuous, wild, hot-tempered, violent, or immoral.
Perhaps this sinful yet desirable historical interpretation of red-heads began with some religious descriptions. One of the better-known accounts is seen in Jewish mythology, detailing the appearance of Lilith, a comely demon who wreaked sensual havoc in the Garden of Eden. She was often depicted as a red-headed woman. Similarly, Judas, who infamously betrayed Jesus in the Bible, is often portrayed in medieval paintings as having flaming red hair and a crimson beard.
But let’s trace the interesting origins of red hair. Contrary to what many people assume, redheads did not originate in Scandinavia, Scotland, or Ireland, but in Central Asia around 100,000 years ago. Their coloring is due to a mutation in the MC1R gene that fails to produce sun-protective, skin-darkening eumelanin and instead causes pale skin, freckles, and red hair.
Ancient writers began forming conclusions in an attempt to rationalize red hair, often portraying them as warlike, uncivilized – yet also admirable. Aristotle described them as brave but also believed red-heads to be evil characters because their hair-shade matched that of a fox. Similarly, the Romans regarded redheads as untrustworthy, despite many Roman women prompting wig-makers to import quantities of red hair from Europe.
This suspicion of red hair continued and evolved with time. In the Middle Ages and beyond, redheads acquired even more negative connotations. Red hair became an almost demonic badge, associated with witches, vampires, and werewolves. During the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, red hair was often seen as a marker of witchcraft and magical abilities, and during witch hunts, red-haired people were often suspected and found guilty by hunters.
Now, redheads are often seen as rare and unique. In Denmark, having a red-headed child is considered an honor. The name of the country Russia means “Land of the Reds” to honor a red-headed Viking named Rurik. Only two percent of people in the U.S. have red hair. It’s time to appreciate and love redheads because they are beautiful!
Redhead Appreciation Day timeline
Celebrating red hair
Redhead Day begins in the Netherlands, a Dutch summer festival that celebrates the beauty of natural red hair.
An unfaithful study?
A French study compares societal views on blonde, brunette, and red-headed women, with the results showing the redheaded woman is seen as more mean and more likely to be unfaithful than the other two.
A flaming incorrect depiction
The unusual hair color became a physical depiction of “otherness,” with notable artists such as Anthony van Dyke and even Shakespeare attributing redhead characteristics as untrustworthy and treacherous.
- 2000–1500 BC
In the genes
The pioneers of red hair began to spread to the Balkans and central and Western Europe, which became established as the geographical and historical homeland of red-haired culture.
Redhead Appreciation Day FAQs
What is special about redheads?
Well, because the gene mutation (MC1R) that causes red hair is on the same gene linked to pain receptors. It also means redheads usually need more anesthesia for dental and medical procedures.
Who is the most famous redhead?
Ed Sheeran is perhaps the most famous ginger in the world right now, who rose to fame in 2012 with the release of his single “The A Team.” Other famous redheads include Nicole Kidman, Julienne Moore, Rupert Grint, Debra Messing, and Isla Fisher.
Do redheads go grey or white?
Ginger hair retains its natural pigment a lot longer than other shades, so there’s no need to panic about going grey. Red hair simply fades with age through a glorious spectrum of faded copper to rosy-blonde colors, then to silvery-white.
Redhead Appreciation Day Activities
Compliment a redhead!
If you have a redheaded friend, coworker, or family member, take the time to compliment their flaming locks. There’s rarely a better feeling than making someone feel good.
Read up about royal redheads
Redheads have a long royal history. The most famous ginger ruler was Queen Elizabeth I, who took the throne and ruled from 1558—1603. During the Elizabethan era, red hair became pretty damn fashionable, as the nobility attempted to emulate their queen’s look through wigs and dye. Talk about a royal impact!
Meet with other redheads
Gather your red-haired friends and celebrate their uniqueness. Share photos that highlight their copper locks and make people notice how beautiful redheads are.
5 Amazing Facts About The Power Of Redheads
An 1886 study by Dr. Augustin Galopin observed a redhead woman gave off an earthy and sensual scent, and later it was discovered that when perfume is sprayed onto a redhead’s skin it will smell different as a result of their rare biochemistry.
Redheads are technically mutants
Gingers are physically and genetically different, thanks to one very important gene called MC1R, which produces a protein called melanin that determines the pigmentation of their hair and skin.
Vitamin D and pain powers
Research indicates that redheads have higher thresholds for pain and need less vitamin D than everyone else.
Around 1000 B.C. a people known as the Thracians worshipped gods with red hair and blue eyes, which is actually the rarest hair and eye color combination.
Ancient Egyptians loved red hair
Because red can often be seen as powerful psychologically, certain Egyptian rulers chose to rule with red henna in their hair.
Why We Love Redhead Appreciation Day
Redheads are rare
The genes and timing have to be exactly right to even stand a chance of producing a redhead child, as it is recessive. At the very minimum, both parents have to be carriers of the mutated MC1R redhead gene. If both parents are carriers but don’t have red hair, they’ve got one in four odds, or a twenty-five percent shot. Sadly, if even one parent doesn’t hold that lucky MC1R gene, there’s just no chance of seeing red. That’s why everyone should appreciate a redhead when they see one!
Red is the hardest color to fake!
Gingers are the easiest hair color to spot in a crowd, but they are also the hardest color to get from a bottle. Red hair dye tends to fade faster than the rest. Not to mention, natural red hair holds on to its pigment better, making it difficult to dye.
TV commercials love redheads
A 2014 report by Upstream Analysis discovered that at one point, CBS showcased a redhead every 106 seconds. Perhaps getting so much of the same regularly means seeing something different makes redheads memorable!
Redhead Appreciation Day dates