Red letter days and how you can celebrate them
Posted on May 21 2018
Red letter, or scarlet days are special or significant days which differ from other more normal and mundane days in the calendar. Indeed, they are called red letter days as since Roman times such important dates have been noted in red, a practice which survived even the invention of the printing press.
In Medieval times when the church was very powerful, Christian holidays also began being marked in red. Today many modern calendars continue this tradition, with important dates such as Bank Holidays, Christmas Day and the Queen's birthday all still marked in red ink.
In some countries including Denmark, Hong Kong, and some Latin American countries, public holidays are sometimes still referred to as 'Red Day'.
How to celebrate a red letter day
In the UK, judges in the High Court are known to wear their official court dress of scarlet robes to mark red letter days. For those laypersons among us, traditional ways of celebrating generally revolve around gifting presents to friends and loved ones, and attending events organised to celebrate the day.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was a spectacular example of celebrating a red letter day (in this case, year) in pure style. The multinational celebration was a year-long affair marking the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6th February 1952. Commemorative events were held throughout the Commonwealth, with the Queen and Prince Philip attending those in the UK, and her children and grandchildren representing her in other countries.
Many people held Big Jubilee street party lunches, with an estimated 8.5 million joining the celebrations in the UK, and many more hosting similar events in 70 countries around the world including Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, South Africa and even the Arctic Circle!
Red letter gifts for that special occasion
Traditional red ephemera such as red roses, wine and experience days are popular gift choices for more personal red letter days such as birthdays and anniversaries. There is even a company called 'Red Letter Days' which, having been spared from bankruptcy by Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis from the popular Dragons Den programme, continues to offer spa breaks, balloon flights and other experience activities for people to gift to each other on special days.
For the next red letter day in your life, a really poignant and thoughtful gift might be to try searching for a red abstract art print online as a token for a loved one. Searching for a red abstract art print online brings up a veritable plethora of gift options from sites such as Etsy and Ebay, and you can find loads of examples and inspiration on Pinterest.
However you choose to celebrate red letter days, with a little thought and preparation you can always be certain that as the sun goes down you will have passed another day in your life worthy of the red marking on the calendar.