Pennants through the ages
by CELINE PHU
College pennants seem to line the walls of several classrooms, inspiring high school students to graduate and further their education.
Throughout the years, college pennants have been sent to several people as gifts to indicate to the receiver that they have been accepted into a college or university. “I thought people hung them up as a sense of pride,” said junior Maggie Huang. “I think universities and colleges made the pennants so they could advertise themselves,” said junior Justine La.
However, that was not the original purpose of the pennants when they were first made in the 1880’s. These flags were initially created to demonstrate support for particular athletic teams, most commonly football and baseball. For example, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) began using flags to celebrate their victories in 1931.
The main difference between a flag and a pennant is its shape. Traditionally made from felt, pennants were fashioned into triangular shaped flags with a school’s mascot and official colors. A flag is rectangular and is more often used to symbolize a nation.
The idea of hanging pennants and flags in high places originated from political cartoons drawn by Benjamin Franklin during the time of the 8 colonies that included a very famous saying, “Don’t tread on me.”
Because humans “tread” or walk on the ground, the American flag was always hung up high in the air to symbolize respect for our nation. Pennants are also placed in high positions so one’s pride for the college can be held up high for everyone to see.
Although the meaning of a college pennant has changed throughout time, it is still a symbol of encouragement, pride and respect.