Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A FLAG-WAVING NATION


Birthday cake, Danish style
Originally uploaded by
PhylB
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!)?

5 comments:

Scudder said...

I'm thinking of getting one up right now ,,You've given me the notion for a Nation .,,.put me in the mood as it were !
Now let's find a flagpole shop ?
Oh, and wait for your birthday 41..
You'll be getting a cake with a Scottish Saltire atop ,.,.
I wouldn't want you missing out on any life experience now would I ?

Trine said...

I really like that Danish tradition. And naturally a flag pole is on our list of wishes - just a small one, 6 meters will do. My parents flag pole is 12 meters high. :)

You know it's summer, when the 7th graders confirm their baptism (konfirmation) and there are flags everywhere and the willages have made alleys of flags down the main street.

And there is nothing as Danish as a white village church with a flag and some newly sprung beeches next to it.

But I don't like the way some political parties uses our flag.

Long live Dannebro! :)

Sebastian said...

@Trine: Du ved godt. at flagstangens højde skal passe til husets højde! Enten er jeres hus meget lille, eller også står flagstangen på en bakke et stykke væk ;-)
6m stang duer faktisk kun til kolonihavehuse og andre flade et-plans, 12m er passende til at ordentlig 2-plans :)

Og selvfølgelig skal man have en flagstang og flage om søndagen. på flagdagene og fødselsdage etc ;-)

@Phyl: I skal bare køre i byggemarked og købe en flagstang. Så kan Thomas også komme igang med at støbe fundament til soklen. Hvad er reglerne ovre hos jer? Må I flage med Dannebrog som eneste/højeste flag?

Vimplen bruges i øvrigt for, at stangen ikke skal stå nøgen.

Trine said...

@Sebastian:

Vi har et ret lavt hus med lav hældning og flagstangen skal stå på en lille bakke. Så jeg tror 8 meter bliver for meget.

@Phyl: Ja, det er bare med at komme afsted og sætte Thomas i arbejde. :)

Phyl said...

Interesting Sebastian - I can't get a flagpole at the DIY store because it doesn't sell them - nowhere sells flagpoles here because no one buys flagpoles! I guess I need to buy one in Denmark and take it home with me on the plane - if KLM allow 'outsized baggage!'