Jamaican Bandana - The History Behind It

by My-Island-Jamaica.com


Over many years we have come to associate Madras cloth, or bandana as it is more commonly known, with Jamaican festival celebrations.


Many may not know that this cloth is not originally Jamaican. As a matter of fact, the word bandana is derived from the Hindi word ‘bandhana’ meaning “to tie”.

However this has not deterred the cultural associations that come with the clothes that Jamaicans make from this material being called the National Costume of Jamaica.

Well the original wearers of bandana said to have been imported from India in the 18th century was made from silk and later copied by British manufacturers and put into mass production using cotton instead of silk.

Today Jamaica Festival honors local talent and ingenuity, from poets and performers to entertainers and musicians, all a part of Jamaican culture and can be expressed in song and dance while wearing traditional bandana.

Following the success of the Independence festival in 1963 the overall organization of Jamaican festival continued to grow. A small unit known as the Festival Office was established; the aim of which was to bring thousands of volunteers together to highlight the work that neded to be done to improve each Festival Zone.

Soon enough, the festival grew and began to showcase cultural resources, creative talents and the beauty of the people of Jamaica.

Source: Jamaica Observer - "One Stop Driva"

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Jul 22, 2017
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Change the Jamaican bandana
by: j wilmot-Daley

I think it is time for Jamaica to retire the Jamaican bandana in its red form/color.

Which one of our leaders chose this attire as our cultural dress? What were their thinking when they chose this fabric?

In the US this bandana material is associated with a "mammy symbol" or a maid symbol her name is "Aunt Jimmima.

The appears on pancake mix boxes in the grocery stores. The material has a negative connotation.

Going forward, we can still keep the plaid pattern but make the new fabric into a green, gold, and black plaid.

This new plaid can at times be accented or trimmed with other colors, white, red, yellow, green, and black. I think this would be a liberated new move for freeing up our minds.

Jan 20, 2013
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i learnt something new
by: Anonymous

Wow. I thought the bandana came from african heritage

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