Black Ribbon Symbolism & Meaning: The Facts

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We see ribbons folded in loops everywhere around the world. When you fold a ribbon in a loop shape, it implies that you are using it for spreading awareness about something. Commonly seen in North America, awareness ribbons are an accessory people use to show their support for a cause or express an emotion. Different ribbon colors represent several causes in the world. 

Some ribbon colors are red, orange, green, blue, pink, yellow, purple, and black. All colors represent different issues and emotions, but what does the black ribbon mean? Let us find out. 

What does a Black Ribbon Mean

Awareness ribbons are all about making a difference in the world. Awareness ribbons have different purposes based on the shapes and shades, but the black ribbon indicates grief and mourning. However, the meaning of a black ribbon changes according to the wearer’s intentions. 

The Cultural Perspective

In several cultures, black represents grief, due to which people often wear black to funerals. From black dresses to armbands and ribbons, the colors represent any person experiencing sadness and loss. The association of black with sorrow and grief is especially true in Jewish traditions. 

In the ancient Jewish tradition Kriah, people often tear their clothes slightly and attach a cut black ribbon to symbolize sadness. According to tradition, Jacob tore his clothes in grief when he believed his son was dead. People in the Jewish cultures applied this ritual but modified it in modern times by including a black ribbon. 

People wear the black ribbon during the seven-day mourning period known as Shiva, but some can also wear it for a month. From this tradition, we can easily understand what the black ribbon means. 

Black Ribbons Outside Jewish Culture

Black ribbons are not exclusive to the Jewish culture because people wear them worldwide. What does the black ribbon mean in different countries? Here are some examples.

In the USA, people wear black ribbons after terrorist attacks such as 911 and mass shootings to express their support and sorrow for the victims. 

In Northern Ireland, the purpose of these black ribbons is to symbolize the killings on Bloody Sunday in 1972. 

The Malaysians used black ribbons to express their sorrow for the victims of the Boeing airline tragedy in 2014.

After the death of Princess Diana in 1997, British people wore black ribbons to express their sorrow. 

Thus, you can see that people in several countries have worn black ribbons to symbolize grief, sorrow, and loss. When you have a single symbol for mourning and loss, the whole world can recognize the emotion and office support. 

Placement of the Ribbon 

The position of the ribbon also matters when it comes to mourning the loss of a loved one. Traditionally, people place the black ribbon on a chest, preferably over their head, to express sadness. What does the black ribbon mean when you attach it to your chest area? Thanks to the one meaning of the black ribbon worldwide, it is an excellent way to give and receive support during hard times. It conveys your sorrow and implies that you may need more compassion during that time.

Black Ribbons and Diseases

Apart from grief and loss, people use black ribbons to indicate some types of cancers and other terminal illnesses. People also use them to express that they support someone through an illness or happen to be affected by someone’s loss due to illness. There are different patterns and shades of black ribbons to aid the differentiation. 

The black ribbon indicates some diseases, including skin cancer, Melanoma, carcinoid syndrome, and sleep disorders. However, the best way to know the meaning behind the black ribbon is to talk with the person wearing it. Several people worldwide also wear a black ribbon to educate others about the diseases and their effects. 

People experience and cope with grief in different ways. Wearing a black ribbon for self-expression is one among them. If you see someone wearing a black ribbon, offer your support or help them. Awareness ribbons are an excellent way to propagate knowledge about different topics and unite people. You can also wear the black ribbon to stand against social injustice and spike conversations about significant issues