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FriMay 16

Shades Day – May 16, 2025

Shades Day is observed annually in the United Kingdom on the closest Friday to International Day of the Family, which occurs on May 15. This year, it will be celebrated on May 16. The holiday was created by the Family Holiday Association (F.H.A.), a charity that provides seaside breaks and day trips to families struggling with life’s toughest challenges, such as bereavement, illness, mental health issues, and domestic violence. The charity receives no government funding, so donations and fundraisers are its only source of income. On Shades Day, people are encouraged to take pictures of themselves wearing sunglasses and support the charity by donating money.

History of Shades Day

Shades Day is an initiative of the Family Holiday Association (F.H.A.). The holiday was designated for the closest Friday to May 15 because it marks the International Day of the Family. Based in the U.K., the F.H.A. is a charity that provides free seaside breaks and day trips to families struggling with life’s challenges, such as grief, illness, mental health issues, and domestic violence. However, these families do not apply directly to the charity but have to be referred by a selected network of people, such as teachers, social workers, and other charities, including Barnardo’s and Shelter. On Shades Day, individuals and charitable organizations are encouraged to take pictures of themselves wearing shades and post them online. Also, they can donate as little as £3 to the charity by texting ‘SHAD35 £3’ to 70070.

The history of shades or sunglasses is traceable to prehistoric times. Inuit people often wore flattened walrus ivory glasses to protect their eyes from reflected sun rays. However, the earliest historical references are found in China and Rome. The Roman emperor Nero wore polished gems while watching gladiator fights. In 12th-century China and perhaps earlier, flat panes of smoky quartz were worn to protect eyes from the sun’s glare. However, ancient sources point to the fact that judges also wore them to hide their facial expressions while interrogating witnesses in court. In Venice, ’Murano glasses’ were worn by women and children in the 18th century to protect their eyes from the glare coming off the water in canals.

In 1752, an English optician called James Ayscough began designing spectacles with tinted lenses, recommending that blue or green tints could correct vision problems. At the time, protection from the sun was not part of his consideration. In 1899, Rodenstock GmbH became the first to produce sunglasses with U.V. protection. Today, this feature has become an industry standard for manufacturers of shades.

Shades Day timeline

12th Century
The Chinese Use Smoky Quartz

Flat panes of smoky quartz are used to protect the eyes from the sun in China.

18th Century
Murano Glasses are Worn

Murano glasses are used by women and children in Venice, Italy.

Ayscough Introduces Tinted Spectacles

James Ayscough designs spectacles with tinted lenses for corrective purposes.

U.V. Protected Glasses are Made

Rodenstock GmbH produces the first sunglasses with U.V. protection.

Shades Day FAQs

What is the most popular brand of shades?

Founded in 1936, Ray-Ban is considered to be one of the most popular sunglass brands of all time.

Is it possible to get prescription sunglasses?

Yes, is it possible to get prescription sunglasses with corrective properties.

Who is the president of the Family Holiday Association?

The president of the Family Holiday Association is Peter Long, while the Chief Executive Officer is Kat Lee.

Shades Day Activities

  1. Wear shades

    Celebrate by buying a fabulous pair of shades or wearing one you already own! Look cool while shading your eyes from the sun.

  2. Take a picture

    Take a picture of yourself wearing shades. Get some friends to join and post online, using the hashtag #shadesday!

  3. Support the cause

    Raising support for struggling families is more essential than ever. If it’s within your means, consider donating to the F.H.A. to provide breaks for families in need.

5 Facts About The Family Holiday Association And Its Founders

  1. A couple founded the F.H.A.

    The charity was founded by a married couple, Patrick and Joan Laurance.

  2. A seaside trip brought inspiration

    The Laurances were inspired when their friends invited them on a seaside trip.

  3. They experienced tough times

    They had lost a child and were experiencing health and financial problems at the time.

  4. They wanted to give back

    After the trip, the couple felt refreshed and decided to organize holidays for other struggling families.

  5. The F.H.A. was founded in 1975

    With donations from friends, family, organizations, and co-workers, Patrick and Joan registered the Family Holiday Association as a national charity in 1975.

Why We Love Shades Day

  1. Shades Day is charitable

    Shades Day is significant because it provides an opportunity to raise funds for struggling families. Donations go a long way in helping families take much-needed vacations and breaks from the struggles of everyday life.

  2. Shades are fashionable

    Whether it’s chilly or sunny outside, shades are a cool fashion statement. They add a little glamor and attitude to your outfit.

  3. Shades protect our eyes

    What would we do without shades on sunny days? They keep us from squinting and even protect our eyes from harmful U.V. rays, which could cause dryness, wrinkles, impaired vision, and a host of other problems. So shades are not just cool but are essential for good health.

Shades Day dates

2022May 13Friday
2023May 12Friday
2024May 17Friday
2025May 16Friday
2026May 15Friday

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