Bandanas are piece of cloth that are either cut to be a square or a triangle, then folded to wear on the body. They come in many colors, mainly one bright color like red, blue, green, yellow, black combined with white. The cloth is tied around the neck or head. Modern uses include more decorative purposes, while historical uses were actually more for protection than fashion. The word Bandana comes from a Hindi term, meaning to tie.
Bandanas were made the most famous by cowboys wearing them in old Western movies. However, they are commonly seen as being used by pirates, farmers, and railroad engineers as well. The main purpose was to use them to wipe sweat from the face area and keep dust out of the collars.
In modern times, bandanas are symbols of identity. One well known example is the bandanas used by gangs. The Bloods wear red, while the Crips wear blue bandanas. The colors represent affiliation without requiring any personal interaction with members of either gang. However, just because someone might wear a bandana doesn’t mean that they are hoodlums or gang members. In fact, many people wear them, just because they are fun, and useful.
Individuals who wear lots of helmets find them as useful as well as the bandana acts as a barrier to protect the skin and hair. Bandanas come in all sorts of styles and colors. There are some that have built in water bladders that can be pre-cooled in the refrigerator in order to ensure the wearer is kept cool on hot summer days. Pets, most often dogs, are frequently dressed in bandanas that match those worn by their owner, making it easy to tell which dog belongs to which owner at the dog park.
When it comes to costumes and uniforms, bandanas are one of the of the most common accessories. From western cowboys to hip hop stars, bandana use crosses not only generations of time, but generations of people.