May 09, 2007

Tricolour - Tricolore

Still another matter referring to national symbols and which also somehow surprisingly appeared in the presidential campaign; the national flag, meaning in France, the “tricolour” (tricolore).

I remember from Sweden that almost every garden had a flagpole and the flag went up on Sundays, national holidays etc. This is not the case in France. Flagging is done only on official buildings. However, surprisingly, the socialist party candidate, “Ségo”, suggested during the campaign that every household should have a flag and expose it in their windows during national holidays. I believe it will be more or less forgotten.

Some historical data about the French flag: The present colours appeared during the French revolution, in a more unofficial way already in 1789, just after the Bastille. In 1794 it became official and has so remained with the exception of the years 1815-30, when the royalty brought their white flag back.

There are a lot of explanations why the colours are blue, white and red. (By the way, 20-25% of all national flags have these colours.)

The most common explanation is that it is a mixture of the Paris flag (red and blue) and the Bourbon flag (white).

The blue colour was also that of St. Martin, a gallo-roman officer who became a saint. (He ripped his blue coat with his sword and gave one half to a beggar; a symbol of how the rich should help the poor.)

The red colour was also that of St. Denis, patron of Paris.

White was also the colour of Virgin Mary and of Joan of Arc and became the colour of the royal Bourbons.

It has also been said that the red colour was that of the Carolingian kings (751-987), blue the colour of the Capetian kings (987-1589) and white the colour of the Bourbon kings (1589-). If this is the explanation, is the “tricolour” still a “royal flag”? (Nothing to do with Ségolène Royal.)


Shionge said...

It is strict too when displaying our flags too. We were encourage to display them during the National Day celebration.

Thanks for this interesting post :)

hpy said...

In Finland too flagging is done not only on official buildings, but also on almost all other buildings during national flagging days. When I still lived in Helsinki I was always very happy to see all those flags going up on my birthday! And they still do even though I left Finland some thirty years ago. Finns seem to have a very good memory.

Seda said...

I have always thought that every color is a symbol of French Revolution motto: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" (originally Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!)...
Liberty: White
Equality: Blue
Fraternity: Red
That's my wild opinion...Love to think in that way...

Glenn Standish said...

Hi Peter, many thanks for leaving a comment over at Toruń Daily Photo. Please check it out again as have replied to your questions. Greetings from Poland!

Cergie said...

Bonjour Peter, tu es bien documenté et on apprend beaucoup en venant te lire
Je ne sais pas pourquoi le fait que le bleu soit la couleur de Saint Martin a un rapport avec la couleur bleu du drapeau par contre
Saint Martin est un saint très ancré dans les traditions rurales en France notamment car sa fête (11 novembre) tombe avec la fin des travaux des champs et il y avaient des foires où les gens se louaient pour l'année suivante

Anonymous said...

That was an interesting information, Peter!
hauskasti kirjoitettu ja tosiaan, liput ilmestyvat kylla uskollisesti kotien lipputankoihin, enkä muista kuulleeni edes keskusteluja tasta kaytannosta.

Peter said...

Unless this is a secret message to hpy, I trust we will get a translation.

Chuckeroon said...

Union Flags and now French Tricolors.....! Tks for leaving a comment. I was not sure what reactions wld come. This is a rather alien subject for most people, but it's lurking "in a village near you".

hpy said...

So you have visited Finland 150 - 200 times and you still don't speak Finnish. It's time to learn!

Nathalie said...

In this day and age when we're trying to promote Europe, I find this French flag waving very distressing!