Meaning of Friendship Bracelets
Most people wear friendship bracelets not knowing what they’re about and where they come from. Their name has significance. They’re typically homespun items with little if any rules for wearing them. And they became most popular in the United States and around the world at a certain time in history. If you wear or have worn a friendship bracelet (who hasn’t?), then knowing what these enigmatic little trinkets mean and where they come from could be a fun eye-opener that could be part of the story the next time you get one tied around your wrist.
First, what’s the significance of friendship bracelets? Well, theoretically, a friendship bracelet is a cloth bracelet given from one friend to another. It’s tied at the wrist in a knot that is often difficult to untie afterwards, since the bracelet is often left on until it wears out. Because this “knot jewelry” is difficult to both tie and untie by the wearer alone, it requires a “friend” to tie and untie: hence “friendship bracelet”.
Friendship bracelets are typically homemade and vary in patterns. The patterns themselves often have little to no significance, other than adornment. Letters and symbols, chevrons, diagonal stripes, hearts, staircases, zigzags, etc., are all common patterns found on these cloth bracelets. They’re often worn many at a time, and traditions for wearing them are non-existent. There are even “bracelets” worn as anklets and others made to be necklaces.
All of this is in keeping with the friendship bracelet’s rise in popularity in the United States. The art form first became widespread in the 1970s as a by-product of the youth movements of the 1960s and the hippie era. By decade’s end, the friendship bracelet had become the part of the uniform of the typical American teenager. The string bracelet became extremely popular throughout the world as well, especially Western Europe. Today, friendship bracelets are as popular as ever, seen now as an American classic.
And that should do it for friendship bracelets, their meaning, and their history. They're meant to signify a friendship with a friend who tied it around the wearer's wrist. They're typically worn anywhere from the wrist to the ankle. They came of age with young wearers in the United State in the 1970s. So next time you see one, remember their meaning and you'll smile to yourself, maybe remembering a friend.