Open up to National Umbrella Day
February 04, 2020
At MacKenzie-Childs, we love to take something that’s functional and make it fabulous. And that’s exactly what we do with our umbrellas.
Our umbrellas greet gloomy days with the sunshine that comes from our unique combinations of color and pattern. Our new, full-size Courtly Check Seamless Umbrella is our take on the classic shape, while our smaller travel umbrellas make it convenient to always be under cover. What’s more, in addition to being indispensable, any one of our umbrellas makes a great gift that’s always much appreciated.
In honor of National Umbrella Day, which is February 10, we have compiled some interesting umbrella history and trivia, and a fun umbrella craft. You can learn more about umbrellas at Umbrella History.
- The word umbrella comes from the Latin word “umbros,” which means shade or shadow.
- Umbrellas date back more than 4,000 years and were primarily used to as a shield from the sun. There is evidence of umbrellas in the ancient art and artifacts of Egypt, Greece, and China.
- Religions from around the world have adopted umbrellas (parasols) for their ceremonies, starting with Egyptian sun-worshipping ceremonies. Chinese paper umbrellas are viewed as symbols of good fortune and longevity and are used for weddings and funerals. Buddhism also uses umbrellas in various ceremonies and worships the goddess Sitapatra, whose name can be translated as “white umbrella.”
- Conversely, umbrellas have been the subject of superstition. It is still believed that opening an umbrella indoors will bring bad luck, which likely dates to the ancient Egyptians who thought that opening an umbrella inside or even in the shade would offend the God of the Sun. In 18th-century England, when umbrellas with metal spokes were being introduced, opening them indoors often caused injuries or damage in small spaces.
- The Chinese were the first to waterproof their umbrellas for use in rain. Today, the majority of the word’s umbrellas are made in the Chinese city of Shangyu, which has more than 1,000 umbrella factories.
- The first steel-ribbed umbrella was invented in the 1850s. The first working folding umbrella was introduced in 1969.
- Umbrellas are associated with iconic movies, including “Singin’ in the Rain,” where Gene Kelly transforms an umbrella into a dance partner, and “Mary Poppins,” where an umbrella transports the title character into the lives of the Banks family.
- Umbrellas have made their way into home decor, too. Large patio umbrellas shield outdoor spaces from the sun, and there are also umbrella-shaped lampshades for ceiling fixtures and table lamps.
- Finally, try making our fun umbrella “wreath.” It was created by Linda Walker, one of our talented designers from our department of Visual Presentation, using a Courtly Check Seamless Umbrella and eight stems of our Courtly Check Cherry Blossom Sprays. To make the wreath, put the umbrella with the handle up and fill with flowers. Tie the ribbon around the umbrella about halfway up to hold the flowers in place and add a decorative touch. Hang your “wreath” from a door and, we promise, springtime won’t seem quite so far away.