Tap to Read ➤

History of the Red Carpet

Ashmeet Bagga
A red carpet is a long red-colored rug rolled out for various dignitaries and celebrities. It is used for many ceremonial and formal events. But how did the red carpet trend start? Scroll down to learn more about the history of the red carpet.

Quick Fact!

For every Academy Awards function, it takes two days to install the 16,500 square feet red carpet.
The red carpet has been one of the most renowned and globally acknowledged floors in the world. It can be spotted in all sorts of events such as important diplomatic meetings, The Oscars, award functions, movie premieres, and nowadays it is widely used in high school proms too.
Rolling down a red carpet for any important person is considered to be an apt welcome. It gives a feeling of royalty and respect.
Many are of the view that the red carpet theme is used too often. Instead of reserving it for special occasions you can actually see a rolled out red carpet for any large or small show, upon which a guest has to walk towards the auditorium or the building of the event.
It is on the red carpet that celebrities pose for their pictures, answer media questions, etc. However, it is not a modern invention. In fact, originally, it was not even related to the entertainment industry. Here, we will look at the history behind the red carpet.

The play Agamemnon

Although the origin of the red carpet tradition is not quite accurately known, its roots can be traced back to as far as the 4th century.
The play Agamemnon written by Aeschylus, in 458 BC, had the first reference to walking down a red carpet. Agamemnon, who was perceived to be very egoistic, returned from war, only to see that his wife Clytemnestra had laid down a red carpet to give him a royal welcome.
Agamemnon who had his own doubts, was hesitant to walk on the carpet, because he knew that only gods were worthy of that color. He walked down the red carpet to be murdered by his wife.
Many references claim that the red carpet mentioned in the play was actually purple.

James Monroe

In the year 1821, a red carpet was rolled out to a river for the then president of United States James Monroe.

The New York Central Railroad

The New York Central Railroad in 1902 used red carpets to welcome passengers onto the train. This was a marketing tactic used, as it made the passengers feel honored.

The Egyptian Theater

The Hollywood red carpet was first used at the Egyptian Theater's premiere of Robin Hood in the year 1922.
The red carpet found its way to award functions in the year 1961 during the 33rd Academy Awards. However, earlier award functions were not broadcast in color, so only the people attending the award function could see it. Viewers were able to see the red carpet color during the 38th Academy Awards in 1966.
Walking on the red carpet is not binding on the celebrities but many prefer to do it, as it helps boost their image.
In the year 2013, many award function organizers inspired by the red carpet theme rolled out carpets of various colors like green, yellow, pink, and white. Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards held in 2013, used an orange carpet to welcome the celebrities.
The American Turf and Carpet company has been producing red carpets since 1992. They simply don't plain dye the carpet red, but blend the carpet with various colors so that it looks vibrant red on television. Even after all the layering done on top of the carpet to protect it from the wear and tear, it is replaced every two years.