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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"I was born a poor black child" ~ The Jerk, 1979.

Is this a kerchief, a bandana or a doo rag and how do you spell it?

The kerchief (from the French couvre-chef, "cover the head") is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the head or around the neck for protective or decorative purposes. In India, a "hand kerchief" primarily refers to a napkin made of cloth, used to maintain personal hygiene.

A bandanna or bandana (from the Hindi bandhana, "to tie") is a type of large, usually colorful kerchief, usually worn on the head. Bandannas are frequently printed in a paisley pattern.

Certain colors of kerchiefs are associated with gangs making it potentially dangerous to wear different types of them in certain areas. In Los Angeles, a red kerchief is associated with Bloods and a blue one is associated with Crips. In certain cities such as Richmond, Virginia, non-violent bicycle clubs such as The Loners may wear black and white bandanas to show their association.

A do-rag, also spelled doo-rag or durag, is a simple piece of cloth tied at the back, used to cover the head. From the 1930s to the 1960s, they were used by African American men to hold chemically processed hair-dos in place while they slept. Originally, they were made from pieces of handkerchief or women's stockings, now they are made from polyester. Do-rags resurged as a fashion trend among urban youth in the 1970s and 1990s. Typically, do-rags are black, but can be worn in other colors. Do-rags are also regularly used to maintain corn rowed hairstyles.

The history of the do-rag is most notably attributed to Civil War era slaves. They would leave them out over night to soak up dew so when they wore them in the morning they would keep their heads cool. The 'dew' changed to 'du', but its first appearance seems to predate that time. It is, however, most closely associated with Afro-American culture because the slaves brought that style with them from their native lands. Hip hop artists such as LL Cool J, Ja Rule, 50 Cent and Nelly have helped popularize do-rags among mainstream audiences by incorporating them in their dress.

The do-rag was also used by black-ops soldiers in covert missions to often conceal blond hair in night time situations. The do-rag would be used as an addition to black face paint and black BDU's.

Do-rags have been used by bikers since the 60's as a convenient way of managing their hair while wearing helmets, as well as avoiding the need for a hat afterwards to hide their 'helmet-head'. Bandannas are worn around the neck by cowboys, pirates, farmers, bakers and railroad engineers to wipe the sweat off their faces and keep dust out of their collars.

Okay, I am still confused. My questions:

  • Is it a kerchief or a banadana if it is worn around one's face, like when you hold up a bank or a stage coach?
  • How about when you wear it around your neck? Is it then a kerchief or a bandana and is it never a do rag?
  • Does it matter if you tie your bandana in the back of your head or can you tie it at your throat like old ladies do or does it then become a scarf?
  • Can a do rag be worn anywhere other than the head?

If you need help tying your kerchief/bandana/doo rag, please check with those 'nutters' at The Bandanna Club and they can give you the instructions.

From my research I have noted, most domesticated animals own at least one kerchief/bandana/do rag.

So Heidi, is this a kerchief, a bandana or a doo rag? Maybe it doesn’t really matter, huh? As long as it keeps the sand out of your hair.

Muchos gracias to Wikipedia for the info.

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