Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taos A to Z Excerpt: Bandana

Definition: “A large handkerchief or neckerchief, typically of cotton, often having a colorful pattern; a red paisley bandana kerchief, neckerchief, headscarf, or babushka.” A kerchief (from the French, couvre-chef, “cover the head”) is a square or triangular piece of cloth tied around the head or neck for protective or decorative purposes. Bandannas are worn as a practical garment by outdoor workers such as farmers and cowboys, who wear them around the neck to wipe the sweat off their faces and keep dust out of their collars.

There are several methods of bandana folding and many different uses for them. In the past, these handy handkerchiefs were folded into common workers’ squares, and tucked into pockets for the more traditional uses, but they have also been used as bandages, compresses to stop bleeding, and folded into triangles, to be worn around the neck as slings.

Cotton bandanas in regulation sizes, are available in a multitude of patterns and colors. Today, bandanas have many new uses, and are in style as head coverings, and are folded and worn in different ways.

Bandana folding: Regular bandanas, being square, are folded into a triangle, placed low on the forehead, just above the eyebrows, and tied in a manner to secure the back triangle to the head. These are often worn by motorcycle enthusiasts underneath their helmets, or as Western wear, alone or under a cowboy hat. Folded bandanas can also become a type of head scarf, when they are folded into a triangle, placed on the top of the head, brought behind the ears, and tied to leave the back triangle point free. ~Jean

A Bit of Personal Bandana Trivia: About 10 years ago, I took to wearing a bandana on my head almost every time I went outside or into town (the exception would be if I chose to wear a cowboy hat, instead). For quite awhile I was unaware that anyone took notice of it. Then, one day I met with a woman for some business concerns and the first thing she said to me was, “Oh, you’re the woman who always wears the bandana! I see you at the market quite often.” Now, I find more and more, people seem to compliment me on the bandana I am wearing. I have collected quite a few unusual and colorful ones over the years! ~Jean

 Above: My dog, Juno, wearing his favorite bandana.

Read more about Taos, Santa Fe, and Northern New Mexico on Taos A to Z

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