Jan. 12 is a day to show redheads some love -- but get permission first.

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In 2008, somebody started a mean campaign on Facebook called “Kick a Ginger” that led to assaults on some young red-haired individuals, according to reports.

The following year, a counter campaign was created and International Kiss a Ginger Day was launched.

While theories abound about flame-tressed folks — they are hard-headed and fiery tempered, according to legends and more tolerant of some kinds of pain and more sensitive to others, according to science — one thing is for certain: their hair color is rare and distinctive.

And though the extinction of the redheaded gene was predicted not long ago, genetic studies indicate there is no true decline in their numbers.

In fact, a cursory peek around Seattle seems to indicate there are plenty of beautiful gingers out and about.

Melanie Bryan, a natural redhead who was on her way to a doctor’s appointment this morning, said her boyfriend, Tyrone Mack, had already celebrated the special day with a kiss.

Rick Clements was on the ferry with Ruby Clements,  his redheaded wife of 10 years.

He’d already given her a kiss this morning as well, he said. But one day of smooching isn’t enough to sustain a relationship with a true redhead, he said.

“You have to master what I call the Two-Kneed-Booty-Kiss and be able to get down on both knees, pucker up and kiss the butt,” he said, laughing. His wife simply looked on and nodded sagely.

For those who want to celebrate the day and show some love (with permission) but who do not know a Ginger well enough to kiss, here’s another recommendation: buy some Hershey’s kisses and pass them around, maybe even to your brown, black and blond-headed friends as well.