BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 11:08 GMT
Do you know your awareness bracelets?
The colour alone does not signify the cause
When Nelson Mandela distributed Make Poverty History wristbands at a London rally, he hammered another safety pin in the coffin of the socially conscious ribbons. Bracelets are now the fashionable way to show you care about a cause. But do you know your anti-bully bands from your anti-racism ones?


Not the original but the first of the latest fad and responsible for spawning a spectrum of colours in the last 12 months.

More yellow: Support Our Troops (also in camouflage green)
Blue: Anti-bullying, anti-Bush vote, tsunami relief, prostate cancer
Pink: Breast cancer
Red: Heart-disease, vote Bush, anti-tobacco, HIV
Purple: Cystic fibrosis, lupus (also orange), domestic violence
White: Jesus Loves Me, right to life
Orange: Asperger's, self-harm
Grey: Diabetes, brain cancer
Black & white: Racism in football
Green: Ecology, leukaemia, organ donor
Gold: Childhood cancer
Black: Mourning, melanoma

Texan cyclist Lance Armstrong set up a cancer foundation after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, and began selling wristbands for a dollar each one year ago. Bearing the slogan Livestrong, Armstrong initially hoped they would raise $5m for his foundation.

Demand began to outstrip supply when Armstrong overcame his illness and won his sixth Tour de France in a row.

The Livestrong band was originally pitched at men and athletes, to show it was not just the frail or women who suffered from cancer. But celebrities soon got the yellow bracelet bug and while they became de rigueur in the US, they were also moderately popular on this side of the Atlantic.

More than 21 million have been sold, with devotees including George W Bush, Pamela Anderson and Prince William. Some have fetched a much higher price on eBay and fakes are made in other colours.


Frank Lampard
The blue bands are championed by footballers
These have taken off in the UK, thanks in part to endorsement by footballers Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.

The wristband campaign was launched by Radio 1 to coincide with the government's anti-bullying week in November.

The aim is to raise awareness, so they're free and inscribed with the simple message 'Beat Bullying'. But demand, driven by other celebrities such as Avid Merrion and Bono, has been so great that eBay auctions have pushed the price up to 16.

Campaigners say the children wearing them have, ironically, become an easy target for bullies.


The white band comes in a variety of different rubber and fabric designs and is part of a campaign to bring an end to world poverty.

The band's message says "Make Poverty History" and can be bought from various charities.

They also suggest people make their own, as it is more about encouraging rich governments to drop the debt poor countries owe them, rather than raising money.

Jamelia, Graham Norton and Rhys Ifans are among its supporters.


These were created in 2002, in the days when the only yellow known to Armstrong was the Tour de France leader's jersey.

Peace mala
The peace mala marks religious tolerance
The so called peace mala has been worn by the premiers of Ireland and New Zealand, and backed by the Pope and the Dalai Lama. It represents the world's religions living alongside each other in harmony and has 14 coloured beads with a white bead between the symbolic knots.

Welsh teacher Pam Evans came up with the idea after hearing of religious abuse directed at Imran Sheikh, a pupil at Coedcae Comprehensive School in Llanelli, following the 11 September terror attacks.

The word mala is Sanskrit and means garland of flowers.


The twin white and a black bands linked together are part of the campaign to tackle racism in football.

Simply marked with the slogan "Stand Up Speak Up", the bands are distributed by Nike, which suggests a 1.50 donation for each band, with proceeds going towards anti-racism projects across Europe.

They have been worn by players Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry, who launched the campaign.


Simply titled The Bracelet, it was devised by Until There's A Cure foundation 11 years ago. It has a variety of textures and colours, and displays the Aids awareness logo.

This is the high end of the bracelet market and there's a wide choice, starting at $10 and including copper ($15), sterling silver ($75) and 14k gold ($400).

They have only recently crossed the Atlantic and the sole UK stockist of the bracelet is Richardson Murray, a hair and beauty salon in the west end of Glasgow.

Devotees include Kevin Bacon and Destiny's Child.


Victoria Beckham
Wearers are protected from the Evil Eye
Made famous by some of the most photographed female wrists on Earth - Madonna, Victoria Beckham and Britney Spears.

Kabbalah is a branch of ancient Jewish mysticism. According to the Kabbalah Centre, the Red String protects wearers from the influences of the Evil Eye, which is a very powerful negative force coming from unfriendly stares and glances.

By wearing the Red String on the left wrist, the wearer connects to the protective energies surrounding the tomb of the faith's great matriarch Rachel.

It has to be tied in a certain way by someone you love.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific