World Redhead Day
annually on May 26th (since 2016)
Redheads are celebrated around the world today. Red is the rarest hair color, with only 2 percent of the world's population having it. Most redheads are of northern or western European ancestry; the highest percentage of redheads come from Scotland, followed by Ireland.
Besides celebrating red hair, the day raises awareness about the stigma associated with red hair, and the discrimination that redheads sometimes face. Redheads are often stereotyped as having a fiery temper. There even is Kick a Ginger Day, which has led to some children being bullied. In ancient Greece, some redheads were considered to be vampires. Many redheads were killed in Europe between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries because they were perceived to be associated with witchcraft.
Red hair is caused by a mutated MC1R gene. If both parents carry this gene—even if they don't have red hair themselves—their child has a one in four chance of being born with red hair. Those with red hair actually have less hair on their heads. A redhead has on average 90,000 strands of hair on their head, while blondes have about 110,000, and brunettes have 140,000. What redheads lack in number they make up in thickness, though, as strands of red hair are thicker than the strands of other colors. Red hair also strongly holds its pigment; it is hard to dye red hair a different color unless it is bleached first.
Most people with red hair also have brown eyes, although a few have blue eyes. There is also some indication that those with red hair are more likely to be left-handed. Those with red hair may also be more sensitive to hot and cold pain, and to pain during surgery. As redheads go through life, their hair begins to fade, turning blond, then white, but never being grey. With such beauty and uniqueness associated with redheads, it is only fitting that the world celebrates them today.
How to Observe
Celebrate all the redheads in your life today! Maybe your best friend is a redhead, or maybe the hair color runs in your family. Maybe you are even redheaded yourself. In that case, today is for you! You can also use the day to raise awareness about stereotypes that have been associated with redheads and to remind young people that it is not acceptable to bully people because of their hair color. Other ways to celebrate the day are to learn about famous redheads or to plan a trip to attend Australia's Ginger Pride Rally.