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 the French knightly Order of the Holy Spirit. 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".
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.
- The Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS) has a blue ribbon campaign each November, in order to raise awareness about prostate cancer.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a blue ribbon campaign for free speech.
- Blue ribbons for boys (and pink for girls) were used from the mid-19th century on christening gowns in Paris, and to a limited extent in the United States. In St. Petersburg (Russia) ribbons of the same color scheme were used on white funeral shrouds for children.
- In Australia and New Zealand, safe seats are sometimes described as "blue-ribbon seats". As blue is associated with the right-wing Liberal Party of Australia, safe Labor seats are sometimes called "red-ribbon seats".
- During the 2014 Hong Kong Protests and 2019 Hong Kong Protests, blue ribbons were used as a symbol for people supporting Hong Kong Police.
Companies and products
- 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 Barbecue is a chain of two 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).
- Blue Ribbon is a brand of ice cream sold in Australia and owned by Unilever.
- Blue Riband (disambiguation) for other uses of the term Blue Riband
- Blue Ribbon Awards
- Blue Ribbon Schools Program
- Medals of Honor (Japan)
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- The Hawaiian Monthly. 1884. p. 143. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Glossary". www.aph.gov.au. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
- Representatives, New Zealand Parliament House of (1970). Parliamentary Debates. p. 3786.
- Tomazin, Farrah (2013-07-13). "Still too many red ribbon seats for the boys". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
- "Blue Ribbon". Streets. Archived from the original on 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- Media related to Blue ribbons at Wikimedia Commons