Thursday 15 June 2006

Something to know about Denmark.....

Today is the 787th birthday of the Danish flag, the Dannebrog. Since becoming aquainted with matters Danish it has been noted by us that Danes take every opportunity to fly their flag. Perhaps today is an opportunity to understand why this is so. Of course all nations have their national symbols and use them frequently, but it is quite remarkable how integral the Dannebrog is to Danes and Denmark. So, here is a chance to appreciate something of the national founding myth and narrative of Denmark.* Prince Christian's second name is Valdemar, which reflects back to this Danish narrative. Also, among flag flying days are the birthdays of the Royal Family which again reinforces the connection between history, the flag, the royals and the nation:
~ 5 February Crown Princess Mary
~ 16 April Queen Margrethe II
~ 29 April Princess Benedikte
~ 26 May Crown Prince Frederik
~ 7 June Prince Joachim
~ 11 June Prince Henrik
~ 15 October Prince Christian

The official flag of Denmark celebrates 787 years as a national symbol

Flags are flying high across the country today to celebrate the birthday of Denmark's flag. According to the legend, a red and white banner fell from the heavens at a critical point during the Battle of Valdemar on 15 June 1219, resulting in victory.

Although there is no historical record to support the legend, the tale of the Dannebrog, the name given to the flag, has captured the hearts of Danes and has been passed down through generations. While the stories surrounding the birth of the flag are all based on oral tellings, the first written record of the flag exists in a 15th century document.

Old coins and seals from the 13th and 14th century contain images similar to the flag.

The earliest known colourised version of the red and white banner appears in a book, 'Wapenboek Gelre' in the 15th century, although the national coat of arms, which is still used today, was more widely used as a symbol of the country.

The red flag with a white cross can be flown by any citizen, according to the regulations concerning the use of the flag. A swallow tailed version of the flag is flown by the government and various official departments.

While the history of the Dannebrog remains clouded and ambiguous, Danes embrace the 787-year-old legend, claiming to have not only the world's oldest monarchy, but also the world's oldest flag.
From The Copenhagen Post

Some links:
The Danish National Flag history, official flag flying days, etc.
Wikipedia - Flag of Denmark
The Dannebrog the 75 year old Royal Yacht bears the name of the flag
The Danish Royal Flags

Dannebrog falling from the sky during the Battle of Lyndanisse, 15 June, 1219. Painted by Christian August Lorentzen in 1809. Original located on Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark

* To put this in some context, a national narrative is a story of wide acceptance with sacred characteristics and it functions to communicate some fundamental truth. Such a story can apply at different levels, for the individual, family, social group or organisation and the whole of society or culture. Myths contain archetypal symbols (in this case the Dannebrog is equated with history and the nation) and create consciousness and curiosity about origins and destiny. Perhaps a national narrative defines the psychological, sociological or cultural ethos of a nation and gives it distinctiveness which reflects the important concerns of the people and continually creates cultural integrity.



Post a Comment

<< Home