By | 09 May 2023 at 12:18 AM
Shades Day 2023: Date, History, Facts, Activities

Shades Day is observed annually in the United Kingdom on the Friday closest to May 15, which is International Day of the Family. This year, the holiday will be observed on May 12. The holiday was established by the Family Holiday Association (F.H.A. ), a charity that offers seaside vacations and day trips to families facing life’s most difficult obstacles, such as loss, illness, mental health issues, and domestic violence. The charity receives no government funding, so its only source of income is donations and fund-raising events. On Shades Day, individuals are encouraged to capture photos of themselves wearing sunglasses and donate money to charity.

The background of Shades Day

Shades Day is a Family Holiday Association (F.H.A.) initiative. The holiday is observed on the nearest Friday to May 15, which is International Day of the Family. The F.H.A. is a charity based in the United Kingdom that provides free seaside breaks and day excursions to families coping with hardships such as loss, illness, mental health issues, and domestic violence. However, these families cannot apply directly to the charity; rather, they must be referred by a limited group of individuals, including teachers, social workers, and other charities, such as Barnardo’s and Shelter. On Shades Day, individuals and charitable organisations are encouraged to capture and post online photographs of themselves wearing sunglasses. Additionally, they can donate as little as £3 by messaging ‘SHAD35 £3’ to 70070.

The history of spectacles or shades dates back to prehistoric times. In order to shield their eyes from the sun’s reflected rays, Inuit people frequently wore spectacles made of walrus ivory that had been flattened. China and Rome, however, contain the earliest historical references. Nero, the Roman emperor, donned gems that had been polished while observing gladiator battles. In China prior to the 12th century, flat panes of smoky quartz were worn to shield the eyes from the sun’s light. However, ancient sources indicate that judges donned them to conceal their facial expressions when interrogating witnesses. In the 18th century, women and children in Venice wore ‘Murano spectacles’ to shield their eyes from the glare of the canal water.

James Ayscough, an English ophthalmologist, began designing glasses with tinted lenses in 1752, suggesting that blue or green tints could remedy vision problems. At the time, sun protection was not a factor in his decision-making. Rodenstock GmbH was the first company to produce eyeglasses with UV protection in 1899. This characteristic is now an industry standard among manufacturers of hues.

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Don sunglasses

Purchase or don a spectacular pair of sunglasses to commemorate the occasion. Be stylish while protecting your eyes from the sun.

Take a photograph

Take a photo of yourself while donning sunglasses. Invite your peers to participate by posting online with the hashtag #shadesday!

Donate to the cause

Increasing assistance for struggling families is more important than ever before. Consider donating to the F.H.A. if you are in a position to do so in order to provide family vacations for those in need.


Patrick and Joan Laurance, a married couple, founded the organisation.

The Laurances were motivated when their acquaintances invited them on a trip to the beach.

At the time, they had lost a child and were enduring health and financial difficulties.

After returning from their vacation, the couple decided to organise vacations for other impoverished families.

In 1975, Patrick and Joan registered the Family Holiday Association as a national charity with donations from friends, family, organisations, and coworkers.


Year Date Day
2022 May 13 Friday
2023 May 12 Friday
2024 May 17 Friday
2025 May 16 Friday
2026 May 15 Friday