Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A FLAG-WAVING NATION
I mentioned a few Danish idiosyncrasies last month when we returned from Denmark. A final one, which I overlooked at the time, came to my attention last night. Thomas came home from work full of joy at the realization that Anna was exactly 5 months old. He couldn't bake her a birthday cake as she's too wee for cake so he headed for the fruit bowl and squished her a banana. He then stuck a Danish flag in it! I suddenly remembered Denmark's flag obsession. One of the first things you notice when you walk down the street in a village or even suburbia is that every 2nd house has a flagpole in the garden usually topped with a rather strange skinny version of a Danish flag. When we first arrived at Anna's grandparents' house, they had raised a proper Danish flag in her honour. You can actually buy large (several-metres-tall) flag poles in your small-town sized supermarket, off the shelf along with your bread and sausages! And there is at least half an aisle devoted to flags to decorate your house, your cake, your car, your fridge - you name it! This might not surprise an American reader but as a Scot this is extremely alien. At 40 I have never received a birthday cake topped by a Scottish saltire, I have never once put saltire bunting on my house, waved a saltire or felt the need to buy a flagpole. I wouldn't know where to buy one if my life depended on it... I wonder, if Scotland was to adopt this flagmania, how quick my dad would be to plant a large saltire in the middle of his front lawn (mum-permitting!)?