Wristbands Around The World
In ancient civilizations, it was common for gold and silver ornate jewelry to adorn many a wrist. These days, its rubber bracelets that are all the rage. While these wristbands may not cost a pretty penny- or other barterable equivalent, their value in terms of expressiveness is quite extensive. These colorful rubber rings are worn all over the world to symbolize an individuals solidarity with others in their efforts to fight a variety of social problems and diseases; cancer, violence against women and children, diabetes, hunger, poverty, and war are a few.
Famous athletes, military personnel, movie stars and political figures are photograghed wearing rubber wristbands. Even President Barack Obama wore a rubber wristband briefly during the 2008 presidential campaign to draw attention to the men and women fighting bracelets in Iraq.
In the early 2000s, the color of a rubber wristband signified ones allegiance to a certain cause or belief:
The purple wristband denoted solidarity in the fight to eliminate domestic violence.
Pink wristbands signified the desire to eradicate breast cancer, and
Bright yellow bands, worn by those supporting world-champion cyclist Lance Armstrong in his 2004 Livestrong campaign against cancer, have been among the most popular.
These wristbands are not particularly difficult to find or acquire as they are widely available, and at a minimal cost of one (US) dollar, on average.
Students at Bellflower High School, in Bellflower, California recently raised over $100 in just one afternoon selling beaded bracelets for charity for one dollar a piece. They plan to donate the money raised in selling these homemade bracelets to efforts in modern India to offer disadvantaged children needed cleft palate surgery though the organization Smile Train.
Though todays wristbands are a means to deal with some very serious causes, they are usually worn quite casually. This was rubber bracelets not the case in ancient Rome, China, and India where these bracelets were taken more seriously.
In ancient Greek cultures, ornate gold or silver wraps were worn above and below the elbows of women. These adornments served a dual purpose. Since they were often detailed with lions, snakes or other powerful animals, they were thought to repel evil spirits; they were also worn to be an attractive accent to their flowing gowns and elaborate hairstyles. Greek men wore metal or leather cuffs on their forearms, but theirs served the very material role of being protection in battle.
In China, wrist adornment was as much a part of a kings wardrobe as his silk robes or head coverings custom bracelets might be. Kings, and other members of the aristocracy, wore bracelets decorated with precious stones, dragons, and phoenixes as signifiers of affluence.
And lastly, in a tradition still existing today not unlike a Westerners wedding ring, gold bangles were worn as one of the signs of a womans marital status in ancient India. The value and number of bangles a woman wore were a direct reflection of her husbands prominence and wealth.