By Anastacia Sampson
The national flag is blue with a yellow Nordic or Scandinavian cross (a representation of Christianity) that extends to the borders. The actual intersection of the cross is situated slightly left of the centre. The left is where it is hoisted and the left half of the flag is called the hoist. The blue is symbolic of truth, vigilance, perseverance, loyalty and justice;while the yellow is representative of generosity.
The colours of the flag are considered to have been inspired by the Swedish Coat of Arms, which is blue and gold. The history of this flag stems back to the 12th century but it is based on mythology as much reputable information from that time is not available. From records the Swedish national state flag seems to date back to 1569.
The present flag design and shape has been in use since June 1906. Although the current flag is rectangular, it was in bygone days double tailed and triple tailed. All Scandinavian countries have the Scandinavian cross on their national flags.
No one may use the state flag without proper authorisation. The way the state flag is flown carries meaning and etiquette in its use is highly enforced. The flag is raised up the flag pole or hoisted briskly and lowered with more ceremony and slowly.
An upside down flag denotes distress. While a half hoisted flag (taken half way up the flag pole) displays grief or mourning. Dragging a flag along the floor is not at all dignified and displays disrespect to the Swedish country.
It is highly disrespectful to draw, mark, tear or adorn the flag with any additional markings or decorations. When a flag of Sweden does become worn with age, it is advisable to destroy it in a respectful way.
Burning an old worn flag in privacy with care is the generally way of placing an end to such a flag.
In Sweden there are designated flag days. On these allocated days the national flag is hoisted and flown on all public flag poles and buildings, from sunrise to sunset. Private poles may also fly the flag as well on the days. The following are national flag days:
•New year’s day on 1 January
•Namesday of the King on 28 January – For each day in the calendar year there is the Old Swedish name day calendar set up by the Swedish Academy in 1901. There is an intention to update the list every 15 years.
•Namesday of the Heiress Apparent – 28 March
•Easter Sunday - First Sunday after the first full moon on or after 21 March
•Birthday of the King – 30 April
•May Day – 1 May traditionally a spring festival and currently International Workers Day
•Pentecost - Seventh Sunday after Easter Sunday
•National Day of Sweden – 6 June
•Midsummer Day - Saturday between 20 June and 26 June
•Birthday of the Heiress Apparent – 14 July
•Namesday of the Queen – 8 August
•Election Day – Second Sunday of September
•United Nations Day – 24 October
•Gustavus Adolphus Day – 6 November is when a unique pastry with a chocolate or marzipan medallion of the king is sold to the public
•Alfred Nobel Day – 10 December
•Birthday of the Queen – 23 December
•Christmas Day – 25 December