Modern Northern and Western Europe Red hair is most commonly found at the northern and western fringes of Europe ;  it is centered around populations in the British Isles. Redheads today are commonly associated with the Celtic nations  and to a far lesser extent the Germanic peoples.
According to Britain's DNA, Red hair frequency is especially significant among the Riffians from Morocco and Kabyles from Algeria,    respectively. Abd ar-Rahman I also had red hair, his mother being a Christian Berber slave. Red hair is also found amongst the Ashkenazi Jewish populations. When henna is used on hair it dyes the hair to different shades of red. This would give the U. Melanesians have a significant incidence of mixed-fair hair, caused by a genetic mutation different from European blond and red hair.
A fragment by the poet Xenophanes describes the Thracians as blue-eyed and red-haired. Caucasian Tarim mummies have been found with red hair dating to the 2nd millennium BC. In Polynesian culture reddish hair has traditionally been seen as a sign of descent from high-ranking ancestors and a mark of rulership. The pigment pheomelanin gives red hair its distinctive color. Red hair has far more of the pigment pheomelanin than it has of the dark pigment eumelanin. The genetics of red hair, discovered in , appear to be associated with the melanocortin-1 receptor MC1R , which is found on chromosome Red hair is associated with fair skin color because low concentrations of eumelanin throughout the body of those with red hair caused by a MC1R mutation can cause both.
The lower melanin concentration in skin confers the advantage that a sufficient concentration of important Vitamin D can be produced under low light conditions. However, when UV-radiation is strong as in regions close to the equator the lower concentration of melanin leads to several medical disadvantages, such as a higher risk of skin cancer.
The MC1R recessive variant gene that gives people red hair generally results in skin that is unable to tan. Because of the natural tanning reaction to the sun's ultraviolet light and high amounts of pheomelanin in the skin, freckles are a common but not all-inclusive feature of red-haired people.
Eighty percent of redheads have an MC1R gene variant. If one of these changes is present on both chromosomes then the respective individual is likely to have red hair. This type of inheritance is described as an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Even if both parents do not have red hair themselves, both can be carriers for the gene and have a redheaded child. Genetic studies of dizygotic fraternal twins indicate that the MC1R gene is not solely responsible for the red hair phenotype; unidentified modifier genes exist, making variance in the MC1R gene necessary, but not always sufficient, for red hair production.
Evolution Origins Red hair is the rarest natural hair color in humans. The non-tanning skin associated with red hair may have been advantageous in far-northern climates where sunlight is scarce.
Studies by Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza hypothesized that lighter skin pigmentation prevents rickets in colder climates by encouraging higher levels of vitamin D production and also allows the individual to retain heat better than someone with darker skin.
In Africa, for example, red hair is selected against because high levels of sun harm untanned skin. However, in Northern Europe this does not happen, so redheads can become more common through genetic drift. Disappearing blonde gene A report in The Courier-Mail , which cited the National Geographic magazine and unnamed "geneticists", said that red hair is likely to die out in the near future. The National Geographic article in fact states "while redheads may decline, the potential for red isn't going away".
It is not likely to disappear at any time in the foreseeable future. Studies have shown that red hair alleles in MC1R increase freckling and decrease tanning ability. Sunshine can both be good and bad for a person's health and the different alleles on MC1R represent these adaptations.
It also has been shown that individuals with pale skin are highly susceptible to a variety of skin cancers such as melanoma , basal cell carcinoma , and squamous cell carcinoma. One study found that people with red hair are more sensitive to thermal pain associated with naturally occurring low vitamin K levels ,  while another study concluded that redheads are less sensitive to pain from multiple modalities, including noxious stimuli such as electrically induced pain.
A study showed women with red hair had a greater analgesic response to that particular pain medication than men. Both derive from the same precursor molecule, POMC , and are structurally similar. Melanocyte-stimulating hormone normally stimulates melanocytes to make black eumelanin , but if the melanocytes have a mutated receptor, they will make reddish pheomelanin instead.
There is little or no evidence to support the belief that people with red hair have a higher chance than people with other hair colors to hemorrhage or suffer other bleeding complications. However, in rare cases red hair can be associated with disease or genetic disorder: In cases of severe malnutrition , normally dark human hair may turn red or blonde. The condition, part of a syndrome known as kwashiorkor , is a sign of critical starvation caused chiefly by protein deficiency, and is common during periods of famine.
One variety of albinism Type 3, a. Portrait of a Lady, ca. In Anne of Green Gables , a character says of Anne Shirley , the redheaded heroine, that "her temper matches her hair", while in The Catcher in the Rye , Holden Caulfield remarks that "People with red hair are supposed to get mad very easily, but Allie [his dead brother] never did, and he had very red hair. Another belief is that redheads are highly sexed; for example, Jonathan Swift satirizes redhead stereotypes in part four of Gulliver's Travels , "A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms ," when he writes that: This leads some to associate red hair with youthfulness, a quality that is generally considered desirable.
In several countries such as India , Iran , Bangladesh and Pakistan , henna and saffron are used on hair to give it a bright red appearance. The hair color " Titian " takes its name from the artist Titian , who often painted women with red hair.
A savage red-haired man is portrayed in the fable by Grimm brothers Der Eisenhans as the spirit of the forest of iron. Theophilus Presbyter describes how the blood of a red-haired young man is necessary to create gold from copper , in a mixture with the ashes of a basilisk.
It is significant that in ancient Egypt, as Manetho tells us, human sacrifices were offered at the grave of Osiris, and the victims were red-haired men who were burned, their ashes being scattered far and wide by winnowing-fans. It is held by some authorities that this was done to fertilize the fields and produce a bounteous harvest, red-hair symbolizing the golden wealth of the corn.
But these men were called Typhonians, and were representatives not of Osiris but of his evil rival Typhon, whose hair was red. Medieval antisemitism Fagin in a watercolour by 'Kyd' During the Spanish Inquisition , people of red hair were identified as Jewish and isolated for persecution. The Ancient historian Josephus would mistranslate the Hebrew Torah to describe the more positive figure of King David as 'golden haired', in contrast to the negative figure of Esau , even though the original Hebrew Torah implies that both King David and Esau had 'fiery red hair'.
For the French novel, see Poil de carotte. In his book I Say No, Wilkie Collins wrote "The prejudice against habitual silence, among the lower order of the people, is almost as inveterate as the prejudice against red hair. As a boy he had bright red hair, and it is amusingly recorded that one day in the streets of Norwich a number of boys followed him, pointing to his red locks and saying, "Look at that boy; he's got a bonfire on the top of his head," and that John Gurney was so disgusted that he went to a barber's, had his head shaved, and went home in a wig.
He grew up, however, a remarkably attractive-looking young man. In Britain, redheads are also sometimes referred to disparagingly as "carrot tops" and "carrot heads". The comedian " Carrot Top " uses this stage name. In , a year-old was stabbed in the back for "being ginger". The three men were subsequently jailed for a combined total of ten years and one month for the attack. The British comedian Catherine Tate herself a redhead appeared as a red-haired character in a running sketch of her series The Catherine Tate Show.
The sketch saw fictional character Sandra Kemp , who was forced to seek solace in a refuge for ginger people because she had been ostracised from society. Hucknall, who says that he has repeatedly faced prejudice or been described as ugly on account of his hair colour, argues that Gingerism should be described as a form of racism.
Film and television programmes often portray school bullies as having red hair. In November social networking website Facebook received criticism after a 'Kick a Ginger' group, which aimed to establish a "National Kick a Ginger Day" on 20 November, acquired almost 5, members. A year-old boy from Vancouver who ran the Facebook group was subjected to an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for possible hate crimes. Even ginger ones" after customers complained the card was offensive.
Thus it is viewed as racist and derogatory by some people. It appears, for instance, in Singaporean newspapers such as The Straits Times ,  and in television programmes and films. It primarily referred to Dutch traders who were the only Europeans allowed to trade with Japan during Sakoku , its year period of isolation.
The festival is paid for by the local government in Breda, a city in the south east of the Netherlands. The international event began in , when Dutch painter Bart Rouwenhorst decided he wanted to paint 15 redheads. Today, the festival includes music, fashion shows, art exhibitions and a picnic  The Irish Redhead Convention, held in late August in County Cork since , claims to be a global celebration and attracts people from several continents.
The celebrations include crowning the ginger King and Queen, competitions for the best red eyebrows and most freckles per square inch, orchestral concerts and carrot throwing competitions.
Early artistic representations of Mary Magdalene usually depict her as having long flowing red hair, although a description of her hair color was never mentioned in the Bible, and it is possible the color is an effect caused by pigment degradation in the ancient paint.
Judas Iscariot is also represented with red hair in Spanish culture   and in the works of William Shakespeare ,  reinforcing the negative stereotype.