A Guide to the Colors and Meanings of Awareness Ribbons

Published: 07th December 2005
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In today's troubled global environment, we often see magnetic yellow ribbons attached to the backs of cars. When actors give a speech at the podium, they are often sporting a small red ribbon. Many of these ribbons are such common symbols that we instantly recognize the cause they stand for, but what about the purple ribbon you saw on a poster for the local humane society or the orange ribbon you spotted on the college campus?

Although many of the awareness ribbons are known mainly for a single cause, the fact is that nearly all of them can represent a combination of illnesses, ideals, and life events as varied as the people who use them as silent testimony to their beliefs or personal tragedies and triumphs. In fact, very few ribbons have only a single purpose, the most well recognized being the puzzle ribbon which symbolizes autism.

As an example, the pink ribbon is best known as a symbol for breast cancer awareness as well as those who have survived it or continue to struggle against it. However, did you know that the pink ribbon is also used as a symbol of childhood cancer as well as birth parents? As mentioned before, you probably see the yellow ribbon nearly every day, but were you aware that aside from its nationally known symbolic gesture of support for our troops, it is also a symbol for suicide prevention, spina bifida, and several other causes. Another popular ribbon is the red ribbon- most often associated with the fight against AIDS and HIV. Alternately, this ribbon also symbolizes stroke, heart disease, and other causes.

Now that you are familiar with the myriad of purposes behind a few of the most well-known awareness ribbons, you may be surprised to learn that there is an entire rainbow of colors left to learn about. In fact, there actually is a rainbow ribbon which is a symbol of gay pride and support of the GLBT (gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transsexual) community in their quest for equal rights. Each ribbon from teal to brown holds a special meaning for someone, and often the same color will hold different meanings for different people.

Learn more about the many colors of awareness ribbons and their meanings. Find the color which symbolizes the cause most important to you, and then show its significance in your life with a car magnet, a ribbon attached to your lapel, or an awareness ribbon bracelet.

The writer is the owner of www.trinitylondon.com

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