Flags and banners
During the annual Daoist Mazu Festival in Taiwan, these pilgrims are participating in an 8-day-long march from temple to temple, carrying banners. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Many Turks are very proud of their country. This man wants to be photographed beside an immense Turkish flag, Istanbul. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
During Losar, the Tibetan New Year, the Bodhnath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal, is decorated with countless prayer flags. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
National flags are usually rectangular, with a few exceptions (Nepal and Switzerland).
National flags of all countries. (Borrowed from allwavingflags.com)
A banner can be a flag or another piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or another message. A flag whose design is the same as the shield in a coat of arms is called a banner of arms.
A pennant is a flag or a banner that is longer than broad, tapering to a point.
The local banner of Tyrol, a Bundesland (federal state) in western Austria, has a white and a red bar, and in the centre a coat of arms with a red eagle on a white background. This banner has been in use since the early 19th Century.
The banner of Tyrol and scented geraniums (Pelargonium), Virgental, Tyrol. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The Cambodian national flag has three horizontal bands, two narrower in blue and a broader one in red, which has a depiction of the famous temple complex Angkor Wat. This flag was officially adopted in 1993 as the national flag.
The national flag of Cambodia, Siem Reap. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The national flag of Denmark, called Dannebrog, is red with a white cross that extends to the edges of the flag. It holds the world record of being the oldest continuously used national flag.
An old legend relates that this flag fell from the sky in 1219 during the Battle of Lyndanise in Estonia, when the Danish King Valdemar II (1170-1241), called Valdemar the Victorious, together with his Christian German allies, fought against pagan Estonian tribes. The crusading army camped at Lyndanise and built a castle there, named Castrum Danorum, by the Estonians called Taani-linn (‘Danish town’), later abbreviated to Tallinn.
On June 15th, the Estonians attacked the Danes near the castle, advancing from five different directions. The Danish crusaders were completely surprised by the attack and were only saved by a counterattack from their Wendish vassals. Tradition has it that when the Danes were in dire need, Dannebrog fell from the sky and gave them renewed hope.
However, two Danish Middle Age historians, Christiern Pedersen (c. 1480-1554) and Peder Olsen (died 1570), both mention, independently, that Dannebrog fell from the sky during another battle in Estonia, at Fellin, Sakala, in 1208 – a battle of much less importance than the battle at Lyndanise.
Hoisting the Danish flag on a hill at the outskirts of Gudhjem, Bornholm. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Årsdale Mølle is an old Dutch type windmill on Bornholm. On the day, when this picture was taken, the mill was put into work for the benefit of tourists, and strings had been tied to the wings, decorated with tiny Danish flags. Årsdale Mølle is described in depth on the page Culture: Mills. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
This type of Dannebrog, observed on the ferry between the town of Gudhjem, Bornholm, and the islet of Christiansø, is a postal flag, with a depiction of the Danish royal crown and a post horn in the upper inner square. It denotes that this ferry carries mail to the inhabitants of Christiansø. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Pennant, reflected in water, northern Zealand. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The national flag of Greece has 9 horizontal stripes, 5 blue and 4 white. These stripes have no specific meaning, but a popular interpretation is that they represent the 9 letters of the word ελευθερία (‘freedom’). The white cross in the upper left corner symbolizes the official religion of the country, the Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
In this picture, the Greek flag has been painted on a rock wall in a gorge near Sougia, Crete. Maybe the person was short of paint, since the flag has only 7 stripes instead of 9. Somebody, who is less nationalistic, has written on the flag: ‘No borders, no nations’. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The theme on the local banner of the island Öland is identical to the official heraldic coat of arms of the island, dating back to c. 1560: a blue sheet of bunting, depicting a golden stag with red antlers, tongue, and hooves, and wearing a red collar – a symbol of Öland as a royal hunting area. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
This Öland banner was fluttering in the wind outside a farm in the village of Gillsätra. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Hotel with various kanton flags, Wassen, Reuss Valley, Kanton Uri. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
This picture from the city of Thun shows the kanton flag of Berner Oberland, and a heraldic lion, armed with an axe. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The national flag of Taiwan, or, as the country is officially named, the Republic of China, is described as depicting ‘a blue sky, a white sun, and a wholly red earth’.
Any sane Taiwanese calls his or her country Taiwan, so why keep the old name, which was imposed on the country by Chinese invaders?
(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Acrobats, dressed as monkeys, perform with banners, Taichung. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In Taiwan, the prevailing religion is a unique blend of Buddhism and Daoism, characterized by numerous gods and numerous festivals. Colourful banners are always an important issue during these festivals, as seen from the collection of pictures below.
(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The national flag of Turkey is red with a white crescent and a white star. It is identical to the flag of the Ottoman Empire, which was adopted in the late 18th Century and acquired its final form in 1844.
In this picture, a bust of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, birth name Ali Rıza oğlu Mustafa (1881-1938), can just be glimpsed behind a collection of Turkish flags, stretched across a street in Istanbul. He founded the Republic of Turkey and was its first president 1923-1938. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Turkish flags in Kapalıçarşı (‘The Covered Market’), Istanbul. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Dog, sleeping beneath a Turkish flag, Amasra, Black Sea. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Turkish flag and flowers outside an inhabited cave, which has been carved out of eroded tuff rocks, Göreme. central Turkey. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Street vendors, selling flags, Istanbul. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Pennants, depicting the Turkish flag, alternating with the blue edition of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality flag, Istanbul. In the background a flowering horse-chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum), and minarets of the Sultan Ahmed Camii (‘Sultan Ahmed Mosque’), better known as ‘The Blue Mosque’. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The American flag, popularly called Stars and Stripes, has 13 horizontal stripes in red and white, representing the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from England in 1776 and formed the first states in the United States. The 50 stars represent the present 50 states in the union.
During the American Revolution, the banner used by the rebels depicts a coiled rattlesnake, and a text saying Don’t Tread on Me. The American Revolution is described in depth in a novel, written by my late friend John Burke, presented unabridged on this website on the page Novel: Rose of the Revolution.
These pictures from Charleston, South Carolina, show the American flag and the banner used by the rebels during the American Revolution. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The Vietnamese national flag is bright red with a large yellow star in the centre. It was created in 1955 and used during an uprising against the French rulers. The red colour symbolizes the blood that was shed during the uprising, whereas the star represents the five main classes in Vietnamese society: intellectuals, farmers, workers, business people, and soldiers.
Another Vietnamese flag, the so-called five-colour flag, symbolizes the five elements (wood, metal, fire, water, and earth).
The Vietnamese national flag, Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In this picture, the Vietnamese flag is seen behind a tree in Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The Vietnamese five-colour flag, symbolizing the five elements (wood, metal, fire, water, and earth), Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The Vietnamese national flag and numerous five-colour flags, Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Vietnamese flag and a five-colour flag in an alley in Hanoi. They seem to have forgotten a colour in the latter! (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The Vietnamese flag and a temple flag, reflected in Lake Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Wearing T-shirts, depicting the Vietnamese flag, these women are exercizing in the morning near Lake Truc Bach, Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In Tibetan Buddhism, prayer flags are coloured pieces of cloth, tied to strings or poles, and always arranged in this order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. Buddhist mantras are printed on these flags, and when they flutter in the wind, the mantras are dispersed into space for the benefit of humankind.
Prayer flags are ubiquitous in areas, where the Tibetan Buddhism prevails, especially in Tibet, Ladakh, and the Himalaya.
Prayer flags adorn the Swayambhunath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
During Losar, the Tibetan New Year, the Bodhnath Stupa in Kathmandu is decorated with countless prayer flags. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Prayer flags, illuminated by the rising sun, Fanga, Gokyo Valley, Khumbu, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Prayer flags, Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Sanctuary, central Nepal. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Prayer flags, outlined against dark rocks, Ulley, Ladakh, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Morning sunshine illuminates a chorten (the Tibetan edition of a stupa) and countless prayer flags, Shermatang, Helambu, central Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Prayer flags, fluttering in the wind on a rocky ridge beneath King Tashi Namgyal’s old fort, built in the 1500s, near Leh, Ladakh. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Prayer flags in front of a mani stone (a stone with chiseled Buddhist mantras), Tharo Kosi, Khumbu, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Porter, crossing a log bridge across a tributary to the Ghunsa River, eastern Nepal. Numerous strings with prayer flags are spanning the valley. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Prayer flags in front of the mountain Dragkya (5657 m), Machhermo, Gokyo Valley, Khumbu, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Prayer flags, fluttering fiercely in a gust of wind, Kambachen, Upper Ghunsa Valley, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
(Uploaded October 2023)