Banana leaves have a wide range of applications because they are large, flexible, waterproof and decorative. They are used for cooking, wrapping and food-serving in a wide range of cuisines in tropical and subtropical areas. They are used for decorative and symbolic purposes in numerous Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies. In traditional homebuilding in tropical areas, roofs and fences are made with dry banana-leaf thatch. Banana and palm leaves were historically the primary writing surfaces in many nations of South and Southeast Asia.