National Umbrella Day casts a little shade on February 9th. The day honors one of the world’s most useful inventions, the umbrella!
Not only does the umbrella help keep us dry from the rain, but it also protects us from the heat of the sun. Umbrellas can also be used as a fashion accessory. While the umbrella is primarily practical, they also decorate cocktails. These brightly colored paper umbrellas make for fun party favors especially when visiting sunny locations.
Umbrellas have also found their way into the art world. Their color and shape make sharp silhouettes. They also serve as the canvas for art. In movies, umbrellas play a role, too. For example, they played vital parts in both Singing in the Rain in 1952 and in Mary Poppins in 1964.
Interesting Umbrella TidBits:
The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning shade or shadow. Brolly is a slang word for umbrella, often used in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Bumbershoot is a fanciful Americanism for an umbrella from the late 19th century.
The basic umbrella was invented over four thousand years ago. There is evidence of umbrellas in the ancient art and artifacts of Egypt Assyria, Greece and China.
We can credit the Chinese for being the first to protect us from the rain. Their paper parasols received a layer of wax followed by lacquer that made the umbrella withstand the elements.
One of the first umbrella shops in existence opened in 1830 at 53 New Oxford Street in London, England. The shop, operated by James Smith and Sons, still operates regular hours at the same location today.
In 1928, Hans Haupt’s pocket umbrellas appeared. In 1969, Bradford E. Phillips, the owner of Totes Incorporated of Loveland, Ohio, obtained a patent for the first “working folding umbrella.”
Umbrellas have also been fashioned into hats as early as 1880 and as recently as 1987.
Photographers use umbrellas with a reflective inside as a diffusion device when employing artificial lighting and as a glare shield and shade, most often in portrait situations.
NATIONAL UMBRELLA DAY HISTORY
While the origins of the utilitarian holiday remain a mystery, it’s been celebrated since at least 2004. However, another celebration on the calendar promotes opening umbrellas indoors. The entire month of March recognizes the umbrella, too!
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalUmbrellaDay
Spring is sending rain this way. Be sure your umbrella is handy. Strike a pose with your favorite person under an umbrella and go splashing in puddles. Twirl a paper umbrella. Watch a movie with a scene famous for its umbrella scenes. Make sure you name them and use #NationalUmbrellaDay to post on social media.