The Dannebrog – the pride of Denmark

The Danish flag is red with a white cross. The white cross represents Christianity and was later adopted by the Nordic countries Sweden, Finland, Norway, Island and the Faroe islands. The legend about the Danish flag says that the Dannebrog fell from the sky during the Battle of Valdemar on June 15, 1219. The Danish soldiers were about to lose the battle, so they prayed and asked God for help. Immediately after that they won the battle, and the Dannebrog fell from the sky.

Everybody can fly the flag in Denmark, but there are some specific rules they have to follow. The flag is not to be raised before the sunrise and never earlier than 8 am, and it has to be down before the sunset. You are only allowed to keep the flag up at all times when it is illuminated by for example a floodlight. The most important rule there is regarding the flag is that it is not allowed to touch the ground, as it means a war will break out in Denmark.

Originally, the Dannebrog was a warlike symbol that only the royal family and the navy could use. Behind the flag is a story about how Denmark changed from being an absolute monarchy to being a democracy, and the story about the Danish identity.

In Denmark we use the flag to celebrate different things. The Dannebrog is used as a symbol at births and at deaths. It is also used at various sports events where people paint it in their faces and roll around in the flag. We also use the flag as decoration on our Christmas trees.

Another tradition the flag is used for is birthday celebrations. We put the flag in cakes, bread rolls and on the table in front of the birthday boy or girl. It is also common to place a flag outside the door and in the ground to show that we are celebrating someone’s birthday.

The whole birthday tradition is quite big in Denmark, and you can buy everything you need for birthdays or other life celebrations, like anniversaries. You will find table cloths, napkins, plates, cups and paper garlands with the Danish flag on. Whoever came up with that idea is a rich man today!

Does your flag have a special story, or meaning in your country?

[Dansk]

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