“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me…”
This excerpt from Jenny Joseph’s poem , “Warning”, sparked a women’s movement known at the Red Hat Society. On April 25, 1998, six women met for tea in California — all wearing purple dresses and red hats! The Red Hat Society was born! April 25 is celebrated as Red Hat Day, a day that honors women around the world.
What Is the Red Hat Society?
Started by Sue Ellen Cooper as a way to encourage women over the age of 50 to continue to embrace life and to live it with spirit and verve, the Red Hat Society now is open to women of all ages. As a matter of fact, the theme for this 15th anniversary of Red Hat Day is “Celebrating Sisterhood for 15 Years,” acknowledging that the bonds of sisterhood are not limited by age. Women from all walks of life – lawyers, aging parents, golfers, grandmothers, entertainers, and homemakers – are welcome in the society, which now has more than 20,000 chapters in all 50 states in the U.S. and in some 30 other countries. The society emphasizes the “Five F’s”:
- Fun – Celebrating life at every age.
- Friendship – Solidifying and expanding the bonds of sisterhood.
- Freedom – Discovering and exploring new interests.
- Fulfillment – Realizing personal potential.
- Fitness – Embracing healthy, life-lengthening lifestyles.
How Can You Participate in Red Hat Day?
Red Hat Day is an excellent time for home caregivers, aging parents, wives tending to spouses, and just about everyone else to celebrate both their own accomplishments and the accomplishments of other women. You don’t have to be a member of the Red Hat Society to celebrate the community of women. Here are a few things you can do to mark this special day:
- If your sister is the primary caregiver of a parent or husband, give her the day off. Arrange to take over her duties and let her enjoy a day of glorious freedom from responsibility.
- Does your wife or daughter tend to your needs? Take extra time on April 25 to let her know how much you appreciate all that she does. Praise her for her dedication and devotion.
- Arrange to take Mom or Grandmother on a special outing, perhaps with friends whom she doesn’t get to see often. If she’s not up to going out, ask her friends to gather at her home for tea.
- Do something to honor a special woman in your life. Make a lovely, personal card. Prepare a special dinner. Take her out to see a movie or walk through the park. Give her a gift certificate for a spa treatment, and then make any arrangements necessary to ensure that she has time to go to the spa. Tell her how important she is to you.
The Red Hat Society provides a valuable service by focusing on the power, accomplishments, and value of ordinary women. Take advantage of April 25 to encourage the women in your life to celebrate all the extraordinary things that they do on a daily basis.