It’s reported that red hair graces the heads of less than one percent of the world’s population, with most gingers living in the UK, Ireland, and former colonies of the UK like Australia. Redheads are actually becoming rarer and may even be at risk of extinction due to climate change. Sunnier skies in Scotland – where red hair is most prominent – may put the recessive gene that causes red hair in danger. This means we may have limited time left to embrace and celebrate the carrot tops of the world, so the Dutch are doing exactly that.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the festival Roodharigendag (which translates to Redhead Day) is an annual summer event that runs over the first weekend of September in the city of Breda, the Netherlands. The festival, which runs for two days, is a gathering of flame-haired folk (and their fans) to participate in parties, photoshoots, workshops and art exhibitions relating to the colour red.
The festival kicked off in 2005 when a local artist wanted to paint 15 portraits of redheads, so he placed an ad in the paper. 150 models volunteered. Not wanting to turn down so many people, he chose 14 subjects then had a group photo shoot and lottery to determine the 15th model. This meeting for the shoot was the first Redhead Day. At the time, the gathering competed locally in the papers with another festival that took place the same weekend – a local pumpkin contest. The irony is not lost.
The gathering of red haired folk has now spread to include events in the UK and Chicago.
The Redhead Day’s ten year jubilee is a free event taking place this year from September 4 – 6 in the Dutch city of Breda.
(Lead image: Qsimple/Flickr)