Red scarf

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Soviet red scarf
USSR postage stamp, 1972
Pioneers in Vietnam, 2003
Cuban schoolchildren wearing blue scarves, 2006

The red scarf is a neckerchief worn by young pioneers of several countries during the socialist (“communist”) era. In the Soviet Union it was known as pionerskiy galstuk (пионерский галстук, i. e. pioneer's neckerchief), in Vietnam as khăn quàng đỏ (red scarf), in China as hóng lǐngjīn (紅領巾/红领巾,red scarf), in Cuba as pañoleta roja (red scarf), and in Hungary as úttörőnyakkendő (pioneer's neckerchief). Blue scarves were also used by youngsters before coming of age to wear the red one, and are still seen in some countries.

It remains in use by the young pioneer organizations of China,[1] Vietnam,[2] North Korea,[3] and Cuba,[4] and — unofficially, on occasions — in many other countries[5][citation needed], such as Russia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Ukraine, Finland etc. In China, the scarf is emblematic of blood of revolutionary martyrs, as recalled in Red Scarf Park and the title of Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang about her experiences during the Cultural Revolution. In Cuba, the scarf is worn by schoolchildren from first to sixth grade.[6]

Other users[edit]

A red scarf was introduced into the Republic of Korea Air Force as a device to aid visual location of downed South Korean airmen, it became and remains an iconic item of uniform in the Republic of Korea Air Force.[7]

Foulards Rouges[edit]

A red scarf ("foulard rouge") was adopted as the symbol of those counter-protesting the excesses and violence of the Yellow vests movement ("gilets jaunes").[8]


  1. ^ Eckholm, Erik (1999-09-26). "After 50 Years, China Youth Remain Mao's Pioneers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  2. ^ Burr, Rachel (2006). Vietnamese Children in a Changing World. Rutgers University Press. p. 39.
  3. ^ "What is a Young Pioneer, Anyway?". Young Pioneer Tours. 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  4. ^ Donovan, Sandy (2008). Teens in Cuba. Capstone Publishers. p. 80.
  5. ^ "Soviet flags fly as Kyrgyz Pioneers unite". Reuters. 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  6. ^ Teens in Cuba Sandy Donovan, Sujay Rao, Alexa L. Sandmann - 2008 "Cuban students usually join the Pioneers in first grade. When a child joins, there is a formal ceremony where the Young Pioneers neckerchief is presented. First-graders receive a red scarf, which they wear through sixth grade. In seventh ..."
  7. ^ Kim, Hyo-jin (3 February 2015). "Former Air Force chief of staff dies at 91". The Korea Times. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  8. ^ "'Red scarves' protest as France's 'yellow vest' movement splinters". NBCNews. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.