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Roll out the red carpet

Posted by Andrew Longhurst on January 13, 2003

In Reply to: What goes up must come down posted by finbarr on January 13, 2003

Been looking for the real origin to the phrase "Roll out the red carpet" for sometime. I now have it and thought you might like to share same. This refers to carpets and rugs being used in India several centuries ago:

"Sometimes carpets provided the actual architecture; for example, when they were used in the construction of portable tent compounds for military campaigns or royal visits. The layout of the Mughal palace was re-created in these tent compounds. Rows of qanats, free-standing textile screens, replaced red sandstone walls, and flower-covered carpets reproduced the gardens of the inner courtyards. The red color served to identify the emperor's tent, and luxurious textiles not only provided the comforts of home but also symbolically reminded envoys and visitors of the power and the wealth of their rulers."

"Jahangir, Mughal emperor from 1605 to 1627, once paid a visit to his brother-in-law on New Year's Day. To celebrate the event, his brother-in-law carpeted the road between his house and the palace with gold brocades and rich velvets, so that the royal entourage would not have to touch the ground. Today we say "Roll out the red carpet" or "the red-carpet treatment" to indicate the conferring of honor and prestige."

Hope this helps someone somewhere.