A bandanna or bandana (from the Sanskrit: बन्धन bandhana, "to tie") is a type of large, usually colorful, kerchief, usually worn on the head or around the neck of a person or pet and is not considered to be a hat. Bandannas are frequently printed in a paisley pattern. Bandanas are most often used to hold hair back, either as a fashionable head accessory, or for practical purposes:
Colors, and sometimes designs, can be worn as a means of communication or identification, as with the prominent California criminal gangs, the Bloods, the Crips, the Norteños, and the Sureños. In the so-called hanky code, sexual subcultures, particularly gay men, signal their preferred sexual practices by wearing a particular bandana color or design in one of their pockets.
In gang subcultures, the bandana could be worn in a pocket or, in some cases, around the leg. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, the Bloods and the Crips, wore red or blue paisley bandanas as a signifier of gang affiliation.