International Day of Peace

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Audrey Hepburn with dove, 1967
Audrey Hepburn with dove, 1967© Terry O'Neill

To celebrate The International Day of Peace, AnOther present their top 5 peace symbols

Tomorrow is the International Day of Peace, an annual event created by the UN in 1981 to raise awareness and promote peace across the globe. Organisations, schools, nations and individuals will take part in celebrations, festivals and concerts to honour the occasion. There will also be moments of silence at 12pm in each time zone. Designed as a way to 'give positive evidence of commitment to peace in all visible ways' anyone can take part in supporting the day, in any way they please. For our celebration, AnOther have selected their top 5 emblems of peace.

1. The Dove
Doves are a rarity among their species due to the fact that they mate for life. They are known for their loyalty to one another, settling to build nests in open areas and becoming easily accustomed to humans, implying that they were dedicated and peaceful. In Greek and Roman mythology, doves represented peace, love and devotion, being the sacred animal of Venus, the goddess of love.

2. The Peace Sign
Perhaps the most well known symbol for peace, this simple drawing was originally created for the British Nuclear Disarmment Movement by artist Gerald Holtom in 1958 for a march in Trafalgar Square. It quickly became recognised worldwide, adopted by everyone from hippies, to bands and fashion brands, and proceeded to be used not only for its original cause but to promote peace in general, wherever it appeared.

3. The V Sign
Commonly used by posing celebrites, musicians and Japanese tourists, holding two fingers in the air is a symbol of peace recognised all over the world. Originally used as a victory sign by allied troops in the second world war, it became adopted by peace protestors who often displayed the gesture with the word 'peace' written on their hands. 

4. The Olive Branch
Most famously recognised as a peace sign in the Bible, when a dove carried an olive branch to Noah in his ark as a sign the fateful storm was over, it is one of the most ancient of peace symbols. Apparent throughout Greek and Roman mythology, the olive branch appears all over the world, on bank notes and flags and the name of a town in Mississippi, as a symbol of peaceful living.   

5. The Paper Crane
A symbol of peace, hope and luck throughout Japan, it is said that if you fold 1000 origami cranes you will be granted a wish. 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki was diagnosed with leukaemia after her home city of Hiroshima was hit by a fateful atomic bomb when she was just 2 years old. During her time in hospital she attempted to fold 1000 cranes in a bid for her well-being, but sadly she passed away after making only 644. Her classmates completed the 1000 as a tribute to her memory, and Sadako’s story became known across the world and to this day the cranes remain as a symbol of a young girl's hope for a more peaceful future.

Text by Rhiannon Wastell