Monday, April 25, 2011
WHERE'S MY RED HAT?
The Red Hat Society (RHS) is a social organization, founded in 1998, for women approaching the age of 50 and beyond. As of January 2011, there are over 70,000 registered members and almost 24,000 chapters in the United States and 25 other countries. The Red Hat Society is the largest women’s social group in the world.
The founder of the Society is artist Sue Ellen Cooper, who lives in Fullerton, California. In 1997, Cooper gave a friend a 55th birthday gift consisting of a red fedora purchased a year earlier at a thrift store along with a copy of Jenny Joseph's poem "Warning." The opening lines of the poem read:
"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me.”
Cooper repeated the gift on request several times, and eventually several of the women bought purple outfits and held a tea party.
The Red Hat Society’s primary purpose is social interaction among women, and to encourage fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness. The goal is for members to bond as they travel through life together. The Society is not a sorority or a voluntary service club. There are no initiations or fundraising projects.
Members are called "Red Hatters". Members 50 and over wear red hats and purple attire to all functions. A woman under age 50 may also become a member, but she wears a pink hat and lavender attire to the Society's events until reaching her 50th birthday. She is referred to as a “Pink Hatter.”
The official Red Hat Society day is April 25 each year.