History of Patriotic Bunting

Bunting has been used since at least the early seventeenth century to brighten events with a cheerful burst of color and flair.  The origin of the word is uncertain.  One theory is that the word “bunt” means colorful in German.  Another theory is that it may have come from the name of the material used to make the flags.  Buntine was a lightweight worsted-wool fabric known for flying well in the wind, and for its durability even in salty sea air.  Thus, it was used to make flags for naval ships.  Rows of small flags are still used today by naval communications officers to signal from ship to ship.   

The modern use of the term ‘bunting’ is typically used to describe decorations of any material, whether it’s cloth, paper, cardboard, etc., intended to look like decorative fabric.  Typical forms of bunting are strings of colorful triangular flags and lengths of fabric in the colors of national flags, gathered and draped into swags or pleated into fan shapes. 

These days, bunting is used widely to celebrate holidays with a patriotic flair.  It is used to decorate both indoors and out, but generally can be found decorating the exterior of a house, fence or lamppost on holidays that also call for flying the American flag.