In my travels around the world I have noticed that every country has it own way of raising their national flag, and I thought it might be fun to have a brief look at some of them here. Not to make any special points about the sense or nonsense of the idea of national flags or any such thing, merely because some of the ways it is done are downright funny to watch, and other boring, and a few, a very few, deeply impressive.
In order to show you these variations, I have plundered the vaults of Youtube (Oh I so love Youtube!!!) and found some superb examples of the differing approaches to this simply, but apparently very important ceremony.
So here goes.
First we have the extremely low key approach apparently adopted in the USA. March up to the flag pole, unfold the flag, tie it on, pull it up and go home for a cup of coffee….
Next we have a video showing how the Mexicans go about raising their national flag. This is a very impressive affair. To start with they seem to have probably the largest flag in the world, it is gigantic, and is brought on-stage rolled up so it looks like an enormous anaconda, carried by a number of military cops.
We are also treated to a range of demonstrations of how silly the world’s military is when it comes to ways of walking about. Makes the Monty Python Ministry of Silly walks seem tame and dull by comparison. Here we have “normal” marching, a sort of economy sized goose step and also a sort of jerky and happily syncopated slightly stiff legged marching. And all of this to the accompaniment of a death march beat on the snare drums.
As they actually start to raise the flag (which entails all those MPs desperately unrolling it as it goes up), we are also treated to what sounds like a drunken French village bugle band blaring away as the flag ascends. All very impressive, even if it has a more than slightly ludicrous aspect to it.
So, sit back and enjoy the Mexicans getting their flag up its pole.
Next we have the flag raising in Hanoi, which is a curiously gentle affair. It has all the normal trappings, a heavily armed honour guard marching with the flag to the flag pole, a military band playing “inspiring” nationalistic music and all the other trappings of the theatrical side of flag raising, but somehow it is all very gentle and non-threatening. Odd.
Watch the video and you will see what I mean, even the goose stepping is gentle, and the splendid”throwing the flag away” gesture as the flag goes up is gentle (compare it to the Chinese version below).
And next we have the Greek way of doing it. Here it is the Presidential Guard, a rather curious looking bunch of men who wear skirts, but are renowned as being some of the fiercest fighters in the world, known as Evzones. And interestingly enough, in spite of the extremely exotic clothes, the actual ceremony is relatively low key.
And lastly, we have the Chinese… Now here are a bunch of people who really know how a flag should be raised!!
What can I say about this bit of theatre? Well apart from the fact that it has been so carefully choreographed, down to the last detail, and those soldiers are actually real, and not (as you might be forgiven for thinking) CGI stuff. They really do march like that, I have seen it myself while working in Beijing.
But I found the marching soldiers curiously feminine in their way of marching, strangely mincing I find.
But I have to confess, I love the way the soldier throws the flag into the air.. Purest theatre that is! And done with such panache too.
Anyhow, there is a look at a number of different ways of getting the national flag to the top of its pole…. I hope you find it amusing and enjoyable to see how differing people go about this relatively simply task.