An episode of South Park allegedly kicked off a few nasty altercations involving people with red hair or gingers. The show is known for it's edgy, far from politically correct, content. And in the Ginger Kids episode, there was a lot of hate thrown at gingers. Whether this episode actually sparked the attacks on gingers is unknown but generally accepted as the reason.
A few years after the episode of South Park aired, a red-haired Canadian comedian named Derek Forgie suggested starting a new tradition called Kiss a Ginger Day. The idea was that red-haired people would be shown a little more love than usual. As you can imagine, the results are mixed, and some people take the holiday a little too far.
The holiday itself is a perfect example of a holiday made for the internet. Every year on January 12th the internet explodes with love for famous redheads like Carrot Top and Prince Harry to name a few of the more famous celebrities. The problem with this holiday is it often leaves the internet and bleeds over into the real world. Strangers running around trying to kiss redheads is frowned on and, frankly, rude.
We've come up with a few ways you can celebrate Kiss a Ginger Day without assaulting or offending any strangers. We know we haven't thought of everything, but we're sure these ideas will get you started. Just remember it's a holiday meant for fun and humor. It's not an excuse to go running around actually kissing people with red hair.
Where Does the Term Ginger Come From?
The term was initially used in a hurtful way. Red haired people were treated poorly at times throughout history. They were branded as unlucky to be around and at some point, accused of being witches. The origin of the word is easy to track down, but when and why it became a term used to describe red-haired people is debatable.
Most people agree using the word ginger to describe red-haired people originated in the late 18th or 19th century in Europe. Some varieties of the ginger plant, such as Red Ginger, have vibrant red flowers and may have contributed to the trend, but that’s pure speculation. The term was widely used in the UK and the US as a way to insult red-haired people.
Rather than try to change people or run from the word, most ginger haired people chose to embrace it and turn the tables. The idea behind Kiss a Ginger Day was initially a joke that blossomed into a holiday and took root in the lore celebrated on the internet. As with most things, once the internet embraces something it doesn't take long before it becomes part of the world outside your computer.
Which Ginger Should You Kiss?
The name of the holiday is misleading. We've said it already, but seek permission before diving in to kiss anyone, ginger or otherwise. Try to avoid drowning your local newspaper in stories about mass ginger kissers being arrested. Most people agree the best way to celebrate this day is by merely handing out a symbolic kiss to gingers.
Celebrate Kiss a Ginger Day with a Drink
If you’re not a drinker, some of these drinks have a virgin version. For the sake of time and space, we didn’t include those versions. Ginger themed drinks, whether in name or with ginger in them, are a great way to celebrate most holidays. Invite some friends over and share some of these great drinks with them. If bartending isn’t in your set of skills, recruit a friend to handle the beverages for you.
Here are a few drink recipes to get you started:
The drawback to alcohol and days named "kiss" anything is it can get you into trouble. If you're not a drinker or tend to get a little wild, it may be a good idea for you to sit this one out. The day is intended to celebrate gingers and show them some love, not scare them or offend anyone. Hopefully, you have a friend that doesn't mind telling you to stop or go cool off. It's all about fun after all.
Kiss a Ginger Indirectly
To avoid restraining orders and possible time in jail, a simple, indirect way to kiss a ginger is by merely handing them a Hershey’s Kiss. Technically, this method covers giving a ginger a kiss pretty well.
Some argue that the traditional way to celebrate Kiss a Ginger Day is by handing them this chocolate candy. However, the internet argues over it from two camps; one camp is pro kiss while the other insists the smart thing to do it hand out candy.
Try these other dessert ideas that incorporate Hershey’s Kisses:
It’s probably not cost effective to make a pile of cookies or bake a cake for every ginger you meet on the street. Reserve the desserts for the special gingers in your life or serve them at you Kiss a Ginger Day party along with the drinks we listed above. If you don’t know many real redheads, don’t expect too many to show up for your party. They make up less than 2 percent of the world’s population.
If you’re not a party planner, check locally for events in your area. Believe it or not, Kiss a Ginger Day is becoming a bigger deal with each passing year. Some events held during the 2017 and 2018 celebrations boasted an attendance of more than 100 redheads. Check your local newspaper, Facebook, or Google to find parties in your area.
Planning a Ginger Party
First things first, does being called a ginger offend red haired people in your area? Depending on which redhead you ask, the answer to that question varies. Socially it's acceptable to refer to red-haired people as gingers most of the time. It only becomes offensive if you use it in a derogatory manner or if you're using it to make fun of their genetics.
Themed parties are a great way to celebrate the day, especially if you don’t know many redheads. Treat it the same way you would a costume party but ask people to dress as their favorite ginger. You could go a step further and award prizes for the best costume. Have guests bring a ginger themed food or dessert. Our lists of ginger themed cocktails or desserts is a great place to start.
Beyond that, follow the standard rules for planning a dinner party. Put the event on social media or send electronic invitations. Plan your menu, music, and decorations to fit the ginger theme. Avoid the temptation to decorate in red. We know it sounds like a good idea, but it won't look good, and everything will clash. Use word-based decorations or flowers to set the mood.
Interesting Facts About Gingers
As we mentioned before, true redheads make up less than 2 percent of the world's population. A lot of myths surround redheads and their genetics. Possibly the two most popular myths involving state that redheads originated in Ireland and they have fiery tempers. Neither legend is true, but good luck convincing anyone they aren't true. Let's look at a few more things that make redheads interesting:
- Gingerphobia is the fear of redheads.
- Redheads need more anesthesia during surgery.
- Most gingers have green, hazel, or brown eyes, not blue eyes.
- Less than 1 percent of gingers have blue eyes.
- Scotland actually has the highest population of redheads at 13 percent.
- Ireland has the second highest population of redheads at 10 percent.
- Redheads are more likely to be left-handed.
- Ginger haired people are more likely to develop skin cancer
- Red hair usually turns white instead of grey with age
While credit for the kick a ginger movement is given to an episode of South Park, the practice of bullying gingers is much older, centuries older inf act. Calling someone a ginger is a common insult on many European playgrounds and a few in the US. People tend to abuse things they view as different, and redheads are rare. History has seen them called everything from bad luck to witches.
Keep in mind that the word "ginger" originated as a hurtful term. It still may bother some people, so use it with a least a little caution. If you are throwing a party or handing out Hershey's Kisses, it’s probably safe to assume anyone with red hair understands you’re not being mean about their genetics. You know more about the culture in your area, so use some discretion.
We think celebrating Kiss a Ginger Day is a great way to show gingers some love. Running up and physically kissing one is probably not the best way to accomplish this goal. Throw them a party or attend one. Use some of the recipes for drinks, desserts, or both to give them a mock kiss. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to show gingers some love.