Bandana or Handkerchief: What's the difference?
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What is the difference between a handkerchief and a bandana?


A handkerchief is mostly for personal hygiene such as blowing ones nose.  A bandana or kerchief is mostly for protective or decorative purposes.

A handkerchief or hanky is a square of fabric, usually carried in the pocket, for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or blowing one's nose, but also used as a decorative accessory in a suit pocket. Richard II of England is said to have invented the handkerchief.  A "handkerchief" primarily refers to a napkin made of cloth, used to maintain personal hygiene.

A 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.  

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.

Handkerchiefs and bandanas are often made of cotton or cotton blend fabrics.  They are sold in hundreds of color variations. The most common print for a bandana is paisley, but there are also many different prints, designs, and patterns incorporated into them. Handkerchiefs are often solid colors but not always.  They are also often embroidered with monograms.  Some are also made of different fabrics, including silk.

A bandanna is worn for both decorative and practical purposes. Practical uses for wearing one include working outdoors or in hot conditions.  Worn around the neck, the cloth can be pulled up around the nose and mouth to lessen the inhalation of dust and debris. Worn around the head, it can prevent perspiration running into the eyes. Many athletes and survivalist’s wear them for similar reasons.

A bandanna can also be defined as a rag that can be worn in different styles on your head, mouth area and neck.  Popular with street gangs, most of them wear a bandana with the tie to the front, or around there mouths.  Bandanas are often restricted in some schools because it is a sign for gangs, and can be used as a weapon (strangle holding, and whipping).

We hope that this information helps you better understand the difference between these rather similar items.

You may also find the following links to be of possible interest:

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