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9 Facts about Redheads and Their Connection to Scotland

Plus, follow one of our favorite influencers from Scotland

Many people automatically assume redheads are Irish or have some sort of connection to Ireland. While it is true that many redheads have some Irish heritage, it’s not true for all redheads. Redheads can come from anywhere in the world, but due to Ireland having a large population of redheads, and St. Patrick’s Day being synonymous with red hair, it’s become a default. The truth is, almost as many redheads have a connection to Scotland, too. Let’s take a look at some facts: 

1. 6-13% of the Scottish population has natural red hair

Similarly to Ireland, a large percentage of Scotland’s population are redheads. While 6-13% might not seem high, other countries like England and the US fall between 2-6%. It’s also believed that around 40% of the people in Scotland carry the redhead gene. 

2. Scottish scientists study red hair

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh looked at the DNA from around 350,000 UK Biobank volunteers and determined that at least 8 different genes are at play when it comes to someone having red hair

3. Some of your favorite redhead celebs have Scottish roots

Many of the redheads we love are U.S. and English-born, but there are a few famous redhead Scots you might know and love. Among these redheads are Karen Gillan, Ewan McGregor, Sam Heughan, Tilda Swinton, and Rose Leslie. Isla Fisher may have grown up in Australia, but she was born to two Scottish parents, and Julianne Moore, although born in the U.S. was born to a Scottish mother from Renfrewshire. 

4. Red hair didn’t start in Scotland

It’s long been believed that redheads originated from Ireland and Scotland, and while many have those roots, red hair actually traces back 50,000 years to central Asia. 

5. What Scots Might Call Redheads

In most of the UK, redheads are often referred to as Gingers. In Scotland, the official language is English, but their rich heritage is also shaped by Scottish Gaelic and the language Scots. “Nighean ruadh” is the Scottish Gaelic term for “red-haired girl” and the term “Ruadh gu brath!” means “Redheads forever!”

6. Red hair has long been associated with Scottish identity and folklore

Scottish legends often depict heroes and heroines with fiery red locks, such as William Wallace and Queen Mary I of Scotland.

7. Redheads have been celebrated in Scottish culture, with events like the Redhead Day Scotland festival

..which celebrates the uniqueness and beauty of red hair.

8. Scottish surnames like MacKenzie, MacDonald, and Campbell are associated with red hair

..reflecting the prevalence of this trait in Scottish clans.

9. Red hair has also been a source of prejudice and discrimination in Scotland, as in other parts of the world

..with stereotypes and myths often perpetuated about redheads.

Overall, red hair holds a significant place in Scottish culture and identity, with a rich history and a strong presence in the country’s population. The association between red hair and Scotland has become part of the country’s cultural identity, celebrated in literature, folklore, and popular culture. Give a follow to one of our favorite Scottish redheads on TikTok and IG, Stephanie Cheape @cheapeofficial:

Cheape also joined H2BAR co-founder’s, Adrienne + Stephanie, during the 5th season of the How to be a Redhead podcast. Listen directly below or wherever you listen to podcasts:

Are you Scottish? Rock it like a Redhead!


READ: Redheads Originated in Central Asia, Not Ireland or Scotland

READ: 5 Facts about Redheads and Their Connection to Ireland