Red hair (ginger hair) has its colour because of the pigment called pheomelanin. Between 1 and 2% of all humans are redheads (gingers). The highest number of people with red hair exist in Scotland, Ireland and Australia. In the Dutch city of Breda there is the International Redhead Day (Internationale Roodharigen Dag). It is held on the first weekend in September. Some of the famous redheads (gingers) – painter Vincent Van Gogh, politician Winston Churchill, actress Sissy Spacek, singer Cyndi Lauper, writer Emily Dickinson etc.

International Redhead Day in Breda, 2010
International Redhead Day in Breda, 2010

All around the world there are different beliefs considering such people. In Denmark people believe it is great honour to have a child with red hair. In Corsica some people do not have a good opinion about redheads. It is believed that if you meet a red head person you should spit and turn around. Winning a national lottery in Poland is not that hard. You “only” have to see three redheads in one day.

In Ancient Greece people believed that when a redhead is turning into a vampire at his/her death. Redheads suffered a lot during the time of Spanish Inquisition. It was believed that red colour of the hair is a proof of its hellish origin. Such people were burned as witches.

Word Russia or "land of reds" actually honours the red headed Viking Rurik (Riurik). In Russia they have a proverb “There was never a saint with red hair.” According to Russians red hair is a sign of rather fiery temper.

In England and Scotland there is a belief stating that first person you meet after the arrival of New Year will determine your luck in that year. Redheads are not the first on the wish list as it is believed that they bring bad luck. Blondes bring nothing at all. The most positive are brunettes.