Amid the coronavirus outbreak, as millions of people are confined to their homes, various news reports have talked about the symbol of the rainbow appearing in windows in areas across Europe and the US. The trend, which is believed to have started in Italy, has caught up with residents in America and Europe too. It involves drawing a rainbow on a piece of paper since it is believed to be a symbol of hope, and taping it to the window to feel a sense of community with the rest of the world.
The BBC reported that by putting up handmade motifs of rainbows on their windows, children will be able to see them during their evening walks in the countries where exercising is allowed. This way, children can enjoy “a sense of community” during this time when they cannot meet their friends or go to the playground. Online groups by the name of “Chase the rainbow” have also surfaced recently across social media websites such as Facebook, where people can share photographs in a bid to lift the spirits of people during this time of disease outbreak.
Apart from the current crisis, the colours of the rainbow are also seen as a sign of diversity when it comes to sexuality. The rainbow flag has become a symbol of the LGBTQ rights movement. It is believed that the flag dates back to the year 1978, when the artist Gilbert Baker, a drag queen and a gay man designed it. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Baker later revealed that he was urged by Harvey Milk, who was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US had urged him to create a symbol of pride for the gay community, whose the colours of the rainbow, something he thought to be the “natural flag” from the sky and assigned a different colour to each stripe of the flag.
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In fact, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu coined the term “The Rainbow Nation” and used it as a symbol of the rainbow to talk about the diversity in South Africa, marking a new beginning for the country. “Look at your hands – different colours representing different people. You are the rainbow people of God. As you remember, the rainbow in the Bible is the sign of peace. The rainbow is a sign of prosperity. We want peace, prosperity and justice and we can have it when all the people of God, the rainbow people of God, work together,” he was quoted as saying in the book, “Giving Account of Faith and Hope in Africa”.
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