World Redhead Day is celebrated every year on May 26. It is a day set aside to celebrate everyone who has natural red hair. If you have red hair, you are considered a part of a unique group because less than 2% of the world’s population is born with naturally red hair. Red hair is more common and appears with greater frequency (between 2% and 6%) among those of Northern European descent. Red hair gets its color from high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin.
History of World Red Head Day
Redheads are those whose hair has a variety of red hues — from a deep burgundy or bright copper, or auburn, to burnt orange or red-orange to strawberry blond. Red hair is usually associated with fair skin color, lighter eye color, freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light.
In ancient Asian civilizations (dating back to the second millennium B.C.), people were said to have red and auburn hair. There are several accounts of redheads in Greek literature. The ancient people Budini, Sarmatians, and Thracians were reported by Greek authors to be blue-eyed and red-haired.
Throughout history, red hair is believed to be good for women, but not for men. Red hair has been associated with evil, vampires, and witches; outsiders were usually portrayed sporting red hair because red hair was not very common. Some historians also attribute this negativity towards red hair to the belief that Judas Iscariot (the disciple who betrayed Jesus) had red hair. Red hair is also associated with someone with a temper. In the 16th and 17th centuries, women who had red hair were stigmatized as witches. An estimated 45,000 red-haired women suspected of being witches were burned during the witch trials.
Although there have been instances of discrimination and indifference towards redheads, acceptance, and celebration have become the norm. Redhead festivals take place across the globe from the Netherlands to Israel. There is also a magazine called “MC1R” exclusively for redheads. (“MC1R” stands for “melanocortin-1 receptor,” a protein-coding gene.)
World Red Head Day timeline
In Scotland, 5.3% of over 500,000 people are found to be redheads.
A research study finds high levels of pheomelanin among members of the British Army stationed in Wales and the Scottish border counties of England.
This festival is celebrated in a small city called Asten in the Netherlands.
A celebration called Redhead Days is held in Highwood, Illinois, attracting redheads from across the United States.
World Red Head Day FAQs
Will redheads go extinct?
According to the Oxford Hair Foundation, the number of redheads could disappear by 2060.
What’s the rarest eye color among redheads?
Blue eyes are the rarest.
Which country has the most redheads?
Ireland has the greatest number of redheads; they are commonly found in Scotland and places where people have Celtic ancestry.
World Red Head Day Activities
Go red or sport a new hairdo
If you’ve been wondering what it’s like to be a redhead, today is the day to take the plunge. If you have naturally red hair, make sure to show it off with a funky new hairdo.
Celebrate famous redheads
Host a dress-up party. Have your friends dress up as their favorite red-haired celebrities.
Host a redhead movie night
Find some films starring your favorite red-haired actors. Enjoy these movies and binge-watch with some friends.
5 Interesting Facts About Red Hair
Red hair is a genetic mutation
Babies born with red hair have parents who carry the mutated gene MC1R.
Redheads are common among Europeans
Redheads are found more frequently among those of northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other populations.
Red hair is thicker
Red hair is thicker than that of other colors.
Redheads are more sensitive to pain
Pain sensitivity among redheads is linked to the MC1R gene.
Redheads produce their own vitamin D
Redheads naturally produce vitamin D, which is essential for good health and proper bone development.
Why We Love World Red Head Day
It celebrates the uniqueness of red hair
It is a day that celebrates diversity and individuality. It is a chance to show the world that redheads are rare and unique.
It is empowering
This holiday teaches us to embrace, be proud and take ownership of our differences. It tells us that redheads should not be discriminated against or stereotyped.
Redheads are a global sensation
Although rare, redheads all over the world get special attention not only because of their hair color but also because of the traits associated with them such as confidence and liveliness. We love celebrating them!
World Red Head Day dates