The gourd dance is a Kiowa dance ceremony which honors all warriors and veterans. The modern Gourd Dance regalia consists of a red and blue blanket draped over the shoulders. There are several available methods of folding the blanket.
Blankets will have either 2, 3 or 4 folds. The idea is to fold the blanket and get a 7″ to 9″ end result. Blankets 11″ wide are also accepted. Material can be salvedge edge, sawtooth edge or double kilt polyester. It will vary from 45″ to 60″ wide. Woolens are 45″ wide. If you want a woolen blanket, then you will need 1 piece of red and 1 piece of dark blue wool 21″ to 24″ in width by the 45″ which is now your length. After sewing the blue and red ends together along the 24″ width, fold it into thirds. You will now have a blanket that will show 7″ to 8″ in the front.
Another method is to cut light weight double knit polyester 52″ long by the width of the material. Sew the red and blue pieces along the width, edge the material in binding or 1″ ribbons and fold into fourths. This will result in a blanket 11″ wide.
The material for edging can be binding, 1″ of ribbon or any light color, or ribbon work strips. A section of ribbon work can also be sewn along the bottom edges and this will highlight the blanket tremendously. Other decorations include some sort of medallion attached to the center portion of the blanket where the red and blue portions meet. These medallions can be beaded or silver blanket pins or brooches. Some veterans wear their service medals on their blankets in lieu of a blanket pin.
Wearing the Blanket
The blanket can be worn one of two ways.
The first way is a diagonal view from the right shoulder to the left hip. Wear the red part of the blanket in the front across the heart and the blue portion in the back. The ribbon edging or binding of the blanket is always closest to the neck or inside.
The second way, called the Comanche Style, is a draped look. This method is reported to be the proper old style method of wearing the blanket. The blanket is draped over the back of the shoulders and hung loose in front in between the arms and the body. The blanket hangs loose on each side of the body. In this style, red is on the right side and blue is on the left. It is important to note that the ribbon edging is inside near the neck.
Optional wear includes a western hat, neckgear and southern plains dusters.