Home Public AffairsCapitol View The history of the hanky

The history of the hanky

by the100companies
hanky history

Why is the handkerchief dropped in the Florida Capitol to signify the end of the legislative session? The answer is simple. It was a line of sight and lack of modern communication issue dating back to the 1920s when the chambers were in the Old Capitol and logistically far apart.

When it was time to close out session, the presiding officers couldn’t see the other gavel out, prompting the sergeant-at-arms of each body to drop the hanky to signify “sine die.”

Now, the hanky drop is more ceremonial, but a tradition we’ve all come to expect and look forward to.

Sarah Bascom, Bascom Communications & Consulting

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