Through the centuries, there had to be a way for strangers to denote who they were allied to. For obvious reasons, anyone not belonging to a particular clan would either be run off or worse. Banner flags were used not only to tell their followers or clan members where they were, they were also used to give a sense of fighting for a cause. These pennants were often guarded to the point of many people losing their lives to keep the pennant intact and in the hands of that particular group. For it to be captured meant that the group had lost the battle. Anyone who wants a banner in a permanent position must sort out the flag pole installation before being able to ‘run up the pennant’ so to speak.
The first thing to consider, for a static pennant, is where exactly this equipment is to be positioned. Care should obviously be taken wherever there are overhead obstructions, and also how the weather affects that particular place. This equipment must be anchored solidly to make sure that nothing short of a hurricane could bring it down. Some people will consider anchoring the whole thing in solid cement to ensure that nothing will fall off.
So why is it that people just love to fly these pennants? Well, over the years, these pennants have come to represent many things to many different people. For ceremonial purposes they are often very ornate and detailed. Take, as an example, the pennant used by the freemasons. Apart from the normal set square and ‘all seeing eye’ motif, gold and braid feature prominently. Everything that means something to the fraternity will be on the pennant and this will be used in all of the important ceremonies that are carried on throughout the life of any freemason.
The same goes for pennants used in colleges and schools. Not only will the initials of the school feature prominently, but also the logo which is sometimes from ancient script or works of art. The fraternities in many US colleges will have three symbols written in Latin or Greek to represent the brotherhood of that particular house. A sense of pride follows and the symbols will be shown on clothing and jewelry as well.
Ships and vessels don’t miss out on this need to show a pennant either. Their set up is bolted on to a convenient place on the ship and the pennants are flown not only while the ship is in motion, but also when the ship comes into port. It will tell the country visited exactly who or what the ship stands for and will show if the visit is a peaceful one or not. Perhaps the most well known pennant that should be familiar to everyone is the skull and crossbones motif which denoted that the occupants were pirates. This kind of advertising was meant to put fear and loathing into the hearts of other ships which put the ship about to be captured at a disadvantage.