Sunday, February 10, 2013

Umbrellas - They're Older Than You Think

Umbrella Heads by Daniel Herrick LBIPP

February 10

Umbrella Day

Happy Umbrella Day. I don't know who founded umbrella day in the middle of winter but for those who live in Ireland it would seem appropriate. The wettest months in Ireland are December and January. The average yearly rainfall amounts vary depending on the region. Eastern Ireland can expect around 29.5 and 39.4 in per year, Western Ireland 39.4 and 49.2 in per year, while the mountainous areas receive the most rainfall with 118.1 in per year. The number of rainy days also depend on the region. The Southeast to Eastern regions tend to have 151 days per year of rain whereas the west can expect up to 225 days of rain per year. Although there is alot of rain in Ireland it is quite rare to experience a thunderstorm. 

Ancient Origins
Humans have been using umbrellas and parasols for over four thousand years. A parasol is used as a covering from the sun while an umbrella is used in all sorts of weather. The world's first umbrellas were actually parasols. Archaeologists have found evidence for the use of parasols in ancient art forms found in Egypt, Assyria, Greece, China and India.

Parasols have been used by those of higher rank throughout the world. The trend began in 1200BC Egypt. It was fashionable for those of the upper class to have lighter skin than the commoners. Thus when in public it became a necessity to shield themselves with a parasol to ensure they would not tan. In Ancient Assyria, only the king was allowed to carry a parasol. 

The first collapsible umbrella was created in 21 AD China when Emperor Wang Mang (45 BC – October 6, 23 AD) had it designed for his ceremonial four-wheeled carriage. The Chinese are also responsible for creating a water-proof umbrella. They would wax and lacquer their paper parasols in order to create a rain proof early version of the umbrella. 

You can learn more about the interesting history of umbrellas and parasols at

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