Today’s Friday theme is flags: I have always loved flags, just like I love maps – maybe something to do with my love of travelling? I remember when I was a child, driving to the summer house with my family, and my brother and I used to count flags on the way. We were only allowed to count the flags on the side of the car where we were sitting, so I quickly realised that there was one side (right or left, I can’t remember) that was better (i.e more flags) than the other one! You see, in Sweden having a flagstaff with either a flag or a pennant (vimpel) in the garden is very popular.
Around our summer house it is easy to spot which places belong to foreigners – if it isn’t a foreign [German, Swiss, Luxembourgish, Danish] license plate on the car, there is a Norwegian flag! We were saying that we need to get a Spanish flag that we can put up when O is visiting!
Flags can have different purposes; either to show that you belong to a group – or that you are different. To show off that you are proud of your country, or your region. In many countries in Europe the EU-flag is flying next to the national flag on all official buildings. However I can’t recall having seen the EU-flag that often in Sweden. Correct me if I am wrong (I didn’t see that many official buildings on the Skåne East coast this summer), but maybe that is a sign of the Swedes’ ambivalence towards the EU?
My favourite flag photo – taken at sunset on a Swiss mountain top in the Italian-speaking part of Ticino.
In my Swedish region of Skåne we have a regional flag, which is a mix of the Swedish and Danish flags, the red cross illustrates the Danish heritage (Skåne was Danish until 1658) and the yellow fields are taken from the Swedish flag. Coincidentally the Skåne colours are also the colours of Spain – so my grandmother crocheted a pair of yellow and red pan-holders for O and I a few years ago!
In Puerto Rico the American flag is flying next to the Puerto Rican flag on official buildings and hotels. And a sticker of the Puerto Rican flag with the “slogan” Mi orgullo (My pride) can be seen on many cars. Most Puerto Ricans are proud of their flag, and it is an important national symbol – especially as they don’t have a national passport (they have American ones). Just like in Greenland, as Lullun wrote today, you will see a lot of Puerto Ricans wearing local tourist t-shirts and caps. I was at first surprised and didn’t really understand why you would wear a t-shirt with “Puerto Rico” written on it if you live here, but then I realised that it is a way of showing off the pride of being Puerto Rican.
The Puerto Rican flag is over 100 years old, but ironically it was first used in New York City in the US (1895) by Puerto Ricans forming a political group – and yes, it is a reversed model of the Cuban flag (many people get confused when they see the flag and question if it is not the flag of Cuba!). The flag was created to be used in the fight for independence from the Spanish colonial rule, but it was soon used also in the resistance against the American invasion in 1898. It didn’t become an official symbol of Puerto Rico until 1952 when the country became a commonwealth of the US. After the Cuban revolution, the use of the Puerto Rican flag became suspicious to the authorities and people were arrested on claims of disobedience against the US Government.
Officially the Puerto Rican flag is not used without the American flag next to it… but of course that it is not the case with private flags. If you are interested in reading more about the Puerto Rican flag, check out this tourist information or the Wikipedia entry.
Check out more flag posts on the following Friday theme / Show & tell participants’ blogs:
Anki, Anna, Anne, Anne-Marie, Annika, Aurorabuddha, Cecilia, Desiree, Inga-Britt, Jemayá, Leopardia, Lia, Lullun, Marianne, Marie, Marina, Millan, MKB, Nilla, Nina, Petra, Saltis, Simone, Strandmamman, Ulrika and Victoria.