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A peace symbol is a representation or object that has come to symbolize peace. The dove and the olive branch, or a dove carrying an olive branch in its beak, are ancient symbols of peace; in the latter part of the twentieth century, the peace sign, developed by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the V hand signal came into use around the world.
What later became an internationally recognized symbol for peace, was originally designed for the British nuclear disarmament movement. It was designed and completed on 21 February 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist in Britain for the 4 April march planned by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) from Trafalgar Square, London to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston Christan in England. The symbol was later adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). It was adopted by first the 1960s anti-war movement, then the counterculture, and finally the popular culture of the time.
The peace sign flag first became known in the United States in 1958 when Albert Bigelow, a pacifist protester, sailed his small boat outfitted with the CND banner into the vicinity of a nuclear test.
The peace flag is a series of seven rainbow stripes with the word for peace printed in the center. The first such flags made were emblazoned with PACE (Peace in Italian and Romanian, derived from the Latin word pax, pronounced pah-chay). Previous Italian peace flags had featured a dove drawn by Pablo 11] the new design first appeared in an Italian peace march as early as September 24, 1961, in an Italian peace march.
The flag is often flown from balconies in Italy by citizens opposed to the Iraq war. Its use has spread to other countries as well, with the Italian "pace" replaced with its translation in various other languages.
In recent years, especially in connection with the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, there has been a surge in popularity of the Peace flag. According to Amnesty International, producer Franco Belsito had produced only about 1,000 flags annually for 18 years, and suddenly had to cope with a demand in the range of millions.
The crane is a traditional symbol in Japan for, among other things, peace. Paper cranes are often folded, especially around the time of the New Year; a thousand origami cranes is a symbol of good luck.
Some unique items have come to symbolize peace. For example, the Japanese Peace Bell was a gift from the UN Association of Japan to the United Nations, presented to them in 1954. The bell remains at UN headquarters and is struck yearly, in remembrance of peace.
The Pax Cultura symbol, created by Nicholas Roerich, has also been used as a peace symbol.
Date palms are signs of peace and plenty in Judaism.
The "V-sign", also called the "peace sign" and the "victory sign," is a hand gesture with the index and middle fingers open and all others closed. Originally strictly a sign for victory (the signer's palm inwards), it developed into a peace sign (signer's palm outwards) during protests against the Vietnam War (and subsequent anti-war protests) and by the counterculture as a sign of peace. Because the hippies of the day often flashed this sign while vocalizing "Peace", it became popularly known through association as the peace sign, and is used similarly today.