Blue ribbon

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This article is about the symbol. For other uses, see Blue ribbon (disambiguation).
Blue ribbon.svg

The blue ribbon is a symbol of high quality. The association comes from The Blue Riband, a prize awarded for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by passenger liners and, prior to that from Cordon Bleu, which referred to the blue ribbon worn by a particular order of knights. The spelling blue riband is still encountered in most English-speaking countries, but in the United States, the term was altered to blue ribbon, and ribbons of this color came to be awarded for first place in certain athletic or other competitive endeavours (such as county and state fairs). It also may be applied to distinguished members of a group or commission who have convened to address a situation or problem; the usual usage is "blue ribbon commission" or "blue-ribbon panel".

Fair competitions[edit]

A blue ribbon won at a convention.

In some fair competitions in the U.S., particularly 4-H and FFA livestock and horticultural events, blue ribbons may be awarded to any project or exhibit which meets or exceeds all of a competition's judging criteria. In Canada and Great Britain, blue ribbons are awarded to second place, with red ribbons awarded to first.

The project may not necessarily be the first-place finisher, however. In such cases, a purple ribbon may given to the champion and second-place (or reserve) champion.

Awards are generally given according to the following scale

Polity Place ribbon
USA First place blue ribbon
Second place red ribbon
Third place yellow ribbon
Fourth place white ribbon
Fifth place pink ribbon
Sixth place green ribbon
Seventh place purple ribbon
Eighth place brown ribbon
Canada First place red ribbon
Second place blue ribbon
Third place white ribbon
Fourth place yellow ribbon
Fifth place green ribbon
Sixth place pink ribbon
Seventh place purple ribbon
Eighth place brown ribbon

Usage as an awareness or activism ribbon[edit]

Blue ribbons have been used as awareness ribbons for numerous different causes. Notable examples:

  • The "Blue Ribbon Online Free Speech Campaign" is an online campaign by the EFF endorsing the protection of free speech on the Internet.[1]
  • The blue ribbon is used to spread awareness of Syringomyelia.
  • The blue ribbon is internationally used to spread awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome[2]
  • A blue ribbon is also the ribbon used for awareness for the disease of neurofibromatosis.
  • A blue ribbon is also the ribbon used for awareness for the autoimmune disease of Sjögren's syndrome.
  • Anti-smoke campaigns. In Canada, it is the symbol of an anti-tobacco, anti-second hand smoke campaign. It has the same meaning in Japan.[3] Students of the Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia started the "Blue Ribbon Campaign" in 1999. Each year it has grown and now has taken on a national scope.[4][5] Singapore is the first country in the region to adopt The Blue Ribbon initiative started by the World Health Organisation Western Pacific Region, on a nationwide scale with 10 markets and food centres.[6]
  • In the UK, a blue ribbon can be the symbol of testicular cancer awareness.
  • In France, a blue ribbon is the symbol of multiple sclerosis awareness.
  • In Spain, a blue ribbon (lazo azul) was used since 1993 by those opposing the terrorism of ETA.[7]
  • In Ukraine, a blue ribbon represents solidarity with President Viktor Yanukovych, support for the "Party of Regions" (Ukrainian: Партія регіонів) and protest against what is perceived as the seizure of power by Viktor Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution in December 2004.[citation needed]
  • In Lebanon, the blue ribbon was used in the Cedar Revolution in 2005, the movement to end perceived Syrian hegemony over Lebanese politics.[citation needed]
  • A pale blue ribbon is used to represent several rare genetic medical conditions: Pierre-Robin Sequence and Stickler Syndrome
  • In regard to Australian Politics the term "blue ribbon" refers to an electorate, state, or area that is considered safe for the conservative Liberal Party. This term can also be applied to the Conservative Party which shares the same ideology and traditional colour of the Australian Liberal Party.[citation needed]
  • In Israel, blue ribbons indicate support for the Israel unilateral disengagement plan of 2004, as opposed to orange ribbons, which indicate opposition. It is intended to invoke the flag of Israel.[citation needed]
  • In Japan, a blue ribbon is a symbol against abduction by North Korea. It symbolizes the Sea of Japan, between Japan and Korea.[8]
  • In the Philippines, the Senate has a Blue Ribbon Committee which serves as an oversight to government accountability and conducts investigations against corrupt officials.
  • In spring 2007, thousands of World Bank employees started wearing blue ribbons as a symbol of support for the cause of good governance. This was seen as a silent protest against World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, who had to step down several weeks later due to charges of nepotism.[9]
  • In Sweden there is a temperance organization with the name "Blå bandet" (The Blue Ribbon).[10]
  • In the United States, blue ribbons are also symbols for several disorders. The blue ribbon (and awareness bracelet from CCFA) are used to signify Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and associated gastrointestinal diseases.[citation needed] A light blue ribbon is the symbol of prostate cancer awareness, a royal blue ribbon is the symbol of mesothelioma awareness, and a dark blue ribbon is the symbol of colorectal cancer (colon cancer and rectal cancer) awareness. Blue is also used in the multi-colored ribbons symbolizing awareness of bladder cancer and thyroid cancer.[11][12][13] Shaped like the letter "P", it is an American symbol for Parkinson's disease.[14]
  • Against child abuse. The National Exchange Club’s national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse, was adopted in 1979 with the encouragement of National President Dr. Edward North, Jr., a physician from Jackson, Mississippi, who observed increased incidences of abuse through his medical practice. The blue ribbon became the emblem of the project following the example of Bonnie Finney.[15] The club sponsors numerous Blue Ribbon Campaigns and Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. In the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, the Penn State Nittany Lions football team announced that they will wear a blue ribbon to support child abuse victims.[16] In The Blue Ribbon Campaign against child abuse originated in the spring of 1989 when Bonnie Finney of Virginia tied a blue ribbon to her car antenna, as tribute to her three-year-old grandson, Michael Bubba Dickinson, who died at the hands of his abusive mother, Belinda Finney Dickinson and her boyfriend. Both were convicted; she on the lesser charge relate to child-neglect and abuse, and he on the full murder charge. The blue color of the ribbon symbolizes the color of bruises.
  • For disasters and incidents. In the US town of Enterprise, AL on March 1st, 2007 a tornado destroyed Enterprise High School and part of the city killing 8 students and 1 Enterprise resident. A Blue ribbon with a White ribbon is used (the schools colors) to commemorate the loss of life that day. Other ribbons are blue with white lettering, often stating "We Will Never Forget 3-1-07".[citation needed] Blue ribbons were also adopted as symbols of unity and remembrance in Oklahoma City after the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.
  • For fallen police officers. In the US, a blue ribbon is a symbol for remembrance for fallen members of local police services. The ribbons are displayed by the survivors of fallen police officers and are very symbolic of the COPS organization, Concerns Of Police Survivors.[citation needed] In Australia, a blue-and-white checkered ribbon is commonly used.
  • A blue ribbon is also used for awareness of bullying, while in the city of Belleville, Ontario, the blue ribbon is used in the Violence Awareness and Random Acts of Kindness campaign.
  • The blue ribbon in Hong Kong represents support of the Hong Kong police to repress the protesters and oppose any democratic progress in opposition to the yellow ribbon, which represents the democracy Umbrella movement since the 2014 Hong Kong protests.[17]

Other uses[edit]

  • Blue ribbons were used by emergency services after the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia to mark properties and areas with possible human remains or a confirmed fatality occurred. The blue ribbons were attached to stakes outside the particular property or area.
  • Blue ribbons for boys (and pink for girls) were used from the mid-19th century on christening gowns in Paris,[18][19] and to a limited extent in the United States.[20][21][22] In St. Petersburg (Russia) ribbons of the same color scheme were used on white funeral shrouds for children[23]

Companies and products[edit]

  • The Italian Peroni Brewery has a beer "Nastro Azzurro" referring to the Blue Riband held by the Italian SS Rex from 1933 to 1935.
  • Beginning in the 1940s, Warner Bros., in a cost-conserving effort, began to reissue its backlog of color cartoons under a new program which they called Merrie Melodies "Blue Ribbon" reissues. For the reissue, the original front-and-end title sequences were altered.
  • Blue Ribbon is a chain of 8 upscale restaurants, a recording studio and amateur cycling team in New York City.
  • Blue Ribbon Barbecue is a chain of 2 restaurants and a catering service in the Boston suburbs.
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, which got its name from originally having a blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle (between 1882 and 1916).
  • In Zimbabwe, "blue ribbon" refers to "Blue Ribbon Mills", the largest wheat refiner in the country.
  • The Swedish company "Blå band" (Blue ribbon) manufactures dried and ready-cooked sauces, soups and outdoor meals.
  • Blue Ribbon is a brand of ice cream sold in Australia and owned by Unilever.[24]
  • Blue Ribbon (Australia) Pty Ltd is an Australian Building company based in Melbourne[25]
  • Blue Ribbon (India) MO 33

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EFF's Blue Ribbon Campaign". 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  2. ^ Bell, D (2010-05-01). "Blue Ribbon Campaign for ME/CFS". Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  3. ^ "I Love Clean Air Blue Ribbon in Japan". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived March 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  5. ^ Blue Ribbon Contest in Capital Health
  6. ^ "10 food centres awarded Blue Ribbon for going smoke-free". Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  7. ^ Gesto por la Paz y el lazo azul
    Jose María Calleja, El lazo azul
  8. ^ "Campaigns Involving Private Citizens / Abductions of Japanese Citizens by North Korea". 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  9. ^ Sridhar Pappu: At World Bank, Blue Ribbons Became Attire Of Their Ire. The Washington Post, May 18, 2007, Page C01
  10. ^ "Organization's website (in swedish)". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  11. ^ "Colon Cancer Alliance". Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  12. ^ "Ovarian Cancer Research Fund". Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  13. ^ "Choose Hope". Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  14. ^ "About the Blue "P" Ribbon". Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  16. ^ "Penn State to add names to back of football jerseys". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  17. ^ South China Morning Post – DAY SEVEN: Full coverage (10 am)
  18. ^ La Mode illustrée: journal de la famille. Firmin-Didot frère, fils et cie. 1868. p. 122. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  19. ^ La Mode illustrée: journal de la famille. Paris: Firmin-Didot frère, fils et cie. 1869. p. 385. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  20. ^ Peterson's Magazine. C.J. Peterson. 1856. p. 261. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  21. ^ Alden, Henry Mills; Allen, Frederick Lewis; Hartman, Lee Foster (1862). Harper's Magazine. Harper's Magazine Company. p. 720. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  22. ^ Harper's Bazaar. 20. New York: Hearst Corporation. 1887. p. 874. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  23. ^ The Hawaiian Monthly. 1884. p. 143. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  24. ^ "Blue Ribbon". Streets. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  25. ^