Red "Prosferin"

I am not really sure what it is called but the red prosferin that is supposed to cover the altar when there is no liturgy....

1. What is it called?
2. What does it symbolize/why is it there?
3.Are deacons allowed to put it onto the altar? My priests never do and it just hangs on a chair. I think it looks really nice on the altar is especially during a wedding when it is in the background.
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