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Black Ribbon Meanings for Mourning and Awareness

Gabrielle Applebury
Black awareness ribbon

The black ribbon has come to represent not only mourning but also can be used as a way to honor an individual who has passed away or is missing. It may also be used to bring awareness to certain types of cancers and illnesses and support those who have received a diagnosis.

Black Ribbon

You may see a black ribbon worn, notice one posted on social media, or see it on a website like Google, especially after a tragedy has occurred.

Black Ribbon Meaning

Wearing a black ribbon may mean:

  • An individual wants to bring awareness to a certain cancer or illness.
  • An individual wants to bring awareness to a missing person or people.
  • An individual wants to support a loved one who has been diagnosed with a certain cancer or illness.
  • An individual is in the midst of mourning.
  • An individual wants to honor their deceased or missing loved one symbolically.

What Does a Black Ribbon Symbolize?

The black ribbon will hold different meanings for each individual who chooses to wear one. In general, a black ribbon may symbolize:

  • A period of mourning
  • An expression of grief
  • A collective garnering of support for the deceased individuals and their surviving loved ones after a mass tragedy
  • Collective support for those who have been diagnosed with a certain cancer or illness

Wearing a black ribbon may be helpful for some during the grieving process, as it can give their grief a tactile form, and be removed, displayed, torn, or destroyed only when the wearer is comfortable doing so. A black ribbon may also be worn on anniversaries, birthdays, or holidays to honor a deceased loved one.

Black awareness ribbon

What Does a Black Ribbon Mean When Someone Dies?

Wearing a black ribbon after someone passes away may signal to others that you are in the midst of grieving this loss. You may see black ribbons passed out at a funeral or memorial for guests to wear, or worn by immediate family members of the deceased to social events for a period of time specific to each individual after the loss. You may also see an image of a black ribbon posted on social media if someone is sharing the news of a loss.

What Does the Black Ribbon on Facebook Mean?

A black ribbon on Facebook may be used in Facebook groups that have to do with grief and mourning, missing individuals, and for support groups for those with loved ones with certain cancer or illness diagnoses. After massive tragedies, Facebook users may post images of black ribbons to show their support for those who lost someone, and/or to signify that they are in mourning.

Black Ribbon With Dove Meaning

A black ribbon with a dove on it tends to be worn after the loss of an individual(s) in a violent way. This type of ribbon may be worn to honor the deceased individual, while bringing awareness to this tragic and devastating type of loss.

Black Ribbon Meaning Cancer

The black ribbon may be worn to bring awareness to certain types of cancer, while showing support for those who have been diagnosed. You may see a black ribbon worn in relation to:

  • Skin cancer
  • Carcinoid cancer (may be all black or zebra print)
  • Neuroendocrine cancer (may be all black or black and white)
  • Rare illnesses and rare cancers (may be all black or black and white)

Black Ribbon Mourning

The black ribbon may be worn to funerals, or any social gathering after a loved one has passed away to honor their memory. Individuals may also wear a black ribbon to charity events or to fundraising events to spread awareness of a certain type of loss, while also honoring their deceased loved one.

What Does the Ribbon Symbolize?

The awareness ribbon is a way to bring people together for a certain cause. Organized ribbon usage began in the 1970s when Penn Laingen tied a yellow ribbon around the tree in her front yard to honor her husband, who was being held hostage at the time.

Placement of the Ribbon

A black ribbon may be worn close to one's heart to honor a deceased loved one and to signal to others that they are in a period of mourning. Black ribbons may also be worn on jacket lapels, on shirts, or anywhere else the wearer is comfortable placing it.

What Does the Black Ribbon Stand For?

A black ribbon may be worn, seen on websites, or used on social media to provide support to those who lost a loved one and/or used to honor a deceased individual. They may also be used to bring awareness to certain illnesses and cancers, and/or to support those who have been diagnosed.

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Black Ribbon Meanings for Mourning and Awareness