Red Hat Society Day is celebrated on April 25th of each year.
The Red Hat Society (RHS) is a social organization originally founded in 1998 in the United States for women age 50 and beyond, but now open to women of all ages. As of 2011, there were over 40,000 chapters in the United States and 30 other countries.
The founder of the Society is artist Sue Ellen Cooper, who lives in Fullerton, Orange County, California. In 1997, Cooper gave a friend a 55th birthday gift consisting of a red bowler purchased at an antique 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 on April 25, 1998.
After spreading by word of mouth, the Society first received national publicity in 2000 through the magazine Romantic Homes and a feature in The Orange County Register. Cooper then established a “Hatquarters” to field the hundreds of e-mail requests for help starting chapters. She now serves as “Exalted Queen Mother”, and has written two best-selling books about the Society.