Health & Wellness

Rainbows Defying the Pandemic

More and more windows are glowing with rainbows that promise brighter days ahead

By Erika Morris


All over North America and the United Kingdom, brightly crayon-coloured rainbows have been appearing in people’s front windows. Other rainbows are chalk drawings on the sidewalk or the side or a house, and still others are painted on walls. All are intended to bring hope to passers-by in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The message is simple, “It’s going to be okay.” After the rain comes the rainbow.

While we should be staying home and practising social distancing, essential workers still have to leave the house, and we are actually encouraged to take walks regularly to get in shape and stave off cabin fever. The goal of the rainbows is to spread a little cheer in times of high anxiety, fear, doubt, and constant bad news. The rainbows are reminders that we are all in this together, and they help ease the loneliness that comes with self-isolating.

The initiative is thought to have begun in Italy, which has been especially hard hit by COVID-19. Rainbows appeared accompanied by the words, “Andrà tutto bene”: everything will be all right. In early March, a New Brunswick family started a Facebook group called “Ça va bien aller – NB we will be OK,” and the initiative has spread quickly spread across the country.

The “Hearts in the Window” Facebook group was begun in Nanaimo, BC on March 20 and by the end of the day had 120 members; by March 30, it had more than 129,000 from around the world. A message on the homepage reads: “A place where we can all come together during this hard time and feel the sense of community and love. Place colourful hearts in your window for all to see to spark joy during these times.”

In Montreal, Pierre-Elliott Trudeau airport showed solidarity by changing the “o” in Montreal into a rainbow. “Employees in charge of field operations during this time have taken the initiative to share a positive message on our famous façade,” the airport tweeted. “Sometimes the acts that cost the least make the biggest impact.”

So, next time you go for a walk, keep an eye out for those rainbows.