Now, a bandana is a "color" used by gangs the Bloods, the Crips, the Nortenos and the Surenos. Although it is no longer necessary, it was a signal used by gay men to indicate sexual preference. I think the correct name for the square, paisley rag is "kerchief" but I can safely say the gays called it a hanky.
In Bob Dylan's new song "Early Roman Kings" it is used as a signal and location device, as well as a celebration:
If you see me comin'
And you're standing there
Wave your handkerchief
In the air
Every culture has used the bandana. The best use is in New Orleans, where traditionally white hankies appear at ALL the hot spots. A party, a funeral, a church…to wipe sweat and then be waved in the air to dry them off. If you have not been to a New Orleans dance and seen white hankies waved in the air, you have not lived.
Whisper Magazine with Peter Driben illustration January 1951
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