Redhead Picture

Red hair is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. Approximately 1% to 2% of the human population has red hair. It occurs more frequently (between 2% and 6% of the population) in northern and western Europeans, and their descendants, and at lower frequencies throughout other parts of the world.

Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the MC1R protein. It is associated with fair skin color, lighter eye colors (gray, blue, green, and hazel), freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light.

Cultural reactions have varied from ridicule to admiration; many common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often portrayed as fiery-tempered.

The Greek historian Dio Cassius described Boudica, the famous Celtic Queen of the Iceni, to be "tall and terrifying in appearance... a great mass of red hair... over her shoulders."

A fragment by the Greek poet Xenophanes describes the Thracians as blue-eyed and red haired. Also, several mythological characters from Homer's Iliad, (themselves purportedly Greek) are described as being "red-haired" including Menelaus and Achilles.

Queen Elizabeth I of England was a redhead, and during the Elizabethan era in England, red hair was fashionable for women.

In Medieval times, red hair was believed to be a mark of a beastly sexual desire and moral degeneration. Montague Summers, in his translation of the Malleus Maleficarum, notes that red hair and green eyes were thought to be the sign of a witch, a werewolf or a vampire; "Those whose hair is red, of a certain peculiar shade, are unmistakably vampires".

Ancient Egyptians associated both red-haired humans and red-colored animals with the god Set, considering them to be favored by the powerful and temperamental deity.

'Redheadday' is the name of a Dutch festival that takes place each first weekend of September in the city of Breda, the Netherlands. The two-day festival is a gathering of people with natural red hair, but is also focused on art related to the color red.

All of the above is from the Wikipedia 'Red hair' page.




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