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Bunting. Before writing this post, I thought it referred to the half-circle Americana we see around US holidays – but that seems to be only it’s modern use. Bunting originally referred to the fabric — a type of worsted wool. Utilized first by the Royal British Navy for it’s flappability undulating abilities, this lightweight fabric became synonymous with flags.

Bunting, as it’s known today, refers most any patriotic flag displays – even those not utilizing the whole of a nation’s flag, but part (i.e., pleated red and white stripes with a blue and white star badge). Think of bunting as an artistic display of a nation’s flag – rather than the prescribed iteration.

Believe it or not, our group of friends includes a vexillologist! When asked about bunting, he said that “it is used in countries across the globe, and isn’t unique to America. Usually, the bunting is basically just a derivative of the national or regional flag, either a simple design using the colors of the flag only (red, white, and blue bunting is common), or sometimes it’s actually the entire flag design just laid out in a different form or shape for display in a different manner from a traditional flag (places like the UK put the entire Union Flag on everything).  We certainly all associate bunting with “pulling out all the stops” for the most festive of occasions, and not day-to-day display like traditional flags.” [Thanks friend!]

Red Hen has some wonderful early 20th century cotton muslin bunting on her mantle. She also found this 1902 Sears, Roebuck and Co. ad for bunting.

I have the privilege and joy of living in a conservation district; not only do we gather together to fight for our right to party paint our doors, we also band together for holidays. One way our neighborhood likes to show off is an abundance of flags around national holidays. Our main drive has had a line of American flags for the last two weeks, and people up and down the street have brought out the bunting. In fact, our neighborhood’s Facebook page recently had a post of “C’mon folks, gird up your bunting” to encourage participation!

Whether you’re flying our nation’s flag or just laying low, Happy 4th of July to you!