24 June 2008

Scandinavian and Nordic Flags

Post No 1

Given the recent burnings of the Danish flag, the Dannebrog (literally: cloth of the Danes) around the Muslim world on the republication of some of those dreadful cartoons, most of the world must by now be familiar with what it looks like.

In fact all the Scandinavian-Nordic flags follow this pattern:
-Denmark: Red background with white cross
-Sweden: Blue background with yellow cross
-Finland: White background with blue cross
-Norway: Red background with blue cross superimposed on white cross
-Faeroe Islands: White background with red cross superimposed on blue cross
-Iceland: Blue background with red cross superimposed on white cross
-The regional flag of Scania - the southern province of Sweden: A mix of the Swedish and Danish flags having a red background with yellow cross.

But have you noticed that the cross of each one is offset?
Have you ever wondered why? Surely a symmetrical flag would be more logical and would look neater, wouldn't it?

All you have to do is turn these flags clockwise through 90 degrees and they are no longer offset but become symmetrical along the vertical axis.
That is because originally they were not flying horizontally from poles or masts but hanging vertically behind the high seat in the main hall of the local strongman, chieftain or petty king, representing his family, clan or little kingdom. And viewed vertically, it suddenly becomes obvious and instantly recognizable as the cross of Christ.

The Danish flag is generally believed to be the oldest flag in continuous use, dating back to the early 14th century, and it is safe to assume that the others were based on the Danish one, as territories changed hands many times over the centuries.

To return to the present, I personally know Danes who get as upset over the flag-burnings as Muslims do over the cartoons but those same Danes also think it is perfectly okay to publish such things - some people really do want it all!

I finally came up with my answers a few weeks ago - you may check them on my next week's blog post on Euro Muslims Zone.

No comments: