'Dannebrog' turns 800
According to the popular folklore, the Danish flag 'Dannebrog' fell from the sky in Estonia during the battle of Lydanisse on June 15 1219. This means that the Danish flag will be turning 800 years old this month.
The Danes were on a mission to turn Estonia into a Christian country. After long and tiresome battles the Danes succeeded however, the Danes were not the only ones claiming Estonia. German missionaries established themselves around the country whereas the Danes were centered around Lydanisse – now know as Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The situation was complicated and in the end the Danish king sold Estonia to the German Order since the country no longer posed a threat to Denmark, as it had been turned Christian.
Turningn 800 years old the Danish flag is the oldest national flags in the world and the Danes use it for everything. In fact many foreigners wonder why the Danish flag is everywhere when they first arrive to the country. ‘Dannebrog’ is one of the least solemn and most folksy flags in the world. It is used to celebrate birthdays, weddings, graduations, soccer championships, supermarkets’ birthdays and much more. In every Danish supermarket you can buy small flags on sticks to put on cakes or bigger ones to decorate your house and garden for special occasions. The flag is also used for funerals where the flag will only be half-way up the pole and it covers the coffins of soldiers dying in battle. It is truly used for everything.
Today the Christian origin of the flag is still visible. Turning the flag around, you see a white cross on the red background. The Danish flag also served as inspiration for the other Scandinavian flags, where a cross is visible too. This is quit interesting as Scandinavia is the least religions part of Western Europe.
You can read more about the history of the Danish flag here.