One of Rotary’s most colorful traditions is members’ exchanging club banners. Clubs display their own decorative banners at meetings and district events, and Rotarians who travel to other countries often take these banners to exchange with the clubs they visit.
The banners often include symbols or images of a club’s town, region, or country. Some represent local cultural traditions or artistry by featuring leatherwork, weaving, embroidery, or hand-painted designs. Many of the banners are works of art in themselves.
Exchanging banners became so popular that the Rotary International Board of Directors was concerned that the practice would place a financial burden on clubs. In 1959, it urged members to “exercise discretion, moderation, and measured judgment in making provision for such exchanges.”
Today, the tradition continues as a way for clubs to express their friendship.
The approximately 20,000 banners in Rotary’s archives reflect clubs’ hometown pride and their connection to Rotary International.