For some reason, I’ve always found people with red hair really cool, and I always wanted to have red hair myself. I guess I just thought they were very unique and interesting, so if you have red hair, I have probably envied you at some point. Another reason one could be jealous of red-haired people is the fact they get their very own day!
And it’s today, January 12!
More specifically, today is the Kiss a Ginger Day, where people are encouraged to find the gingers in their lives, and give them a great, big smooch.
Kiss a Ginger Day was started in 2009 by Canadian Derek Forgie in an attempt to stop bullying and help red-haired people feel more empowered. When Forgie first started it, he wanted to celebrate the uniqueness of redheads, seeing as they are so rare, with only a small percentage of people carrying the “ginger gene” – only 1-2 percent, actually.
The “ginger gene” is a genetic mutation in the MC1R gene, which results in people getting their unique red hair, fair skin, and freckles. Fun fact: Scotland and Ireland actually have the most ginger people per head in the world.
If both parents carry this gene, even if they aren’t ginger themselves, then there’s a great chance that their child will turn out red-haired, and if the parents are gingers, then their kid will almost 100 percent be too.
But as with most things that are rare and unique, people tend to not understand them and end up shunning them. As in the case of children bullying their ginger-haired schoolmates, resulting in a need to have a day dedicated to try and stop the bullies.
Even historically, gingers have had it pretty rough.
For one, if someone had ginger hair in the past, they were considered untrustworthy, or even worse, a witch. Some even believed you could use the blood of a red-haired person to make poison, or to turn copper to gold.
People had such bad opinions of gingers in medieval society, that a lot of the art from that period sees Judas painted as a red-haired man. What’s more, a Christian scholar by the name of St. Jerome once wrote about raising daughters, and in one section, he said: “Do not dye her hair red and thereby presage for her the fires of hell.”
You could say that’s… pretty harsh, to say the least.
But things have thankfully changed, and I’m glad to say the world no longer believes gingers to be witches, and even if they did, I am pretty sure no one would view it as a negative thing, nowadays.
So, yes, today is “Kiss a Ginger Day”, so if you have a ginger in your life, go find them, and give them a kiss – but I hopefully don’t have to remind you to ask for permission first!