It’s bank holiday weekend. Put the flags out!

The first, second and third day of May are all national holidays in Poland, which require the national flag to be displayed on all buildings. Fellow blogger Island1 has already introduced our readers to the May festivities in previous post.

I had a walk around the town this evening and I was amazed at how many different ways the flag is displayed. Could they all be correct? Let’s investigate…

First things first. What is the flag of Poland? There’s a special act regulating this matter, which includes specifications for dimensions and colours. In short the Polish flag looks like this:

The Flag Of Poland

Upper half white, lower half red. Simple. Elegant. Beautiful.

Things are never that simple. You may come across a situation when the flag also comprises of the Coat Of Arms of Poland.

making it look like this:

The Flag Of Poland With The Coat Of Arms

The second variant is also correct. It is, however, intended for use in Poland’s embassies in foreign countries, and on Polish ships. The reason is that the basic design is exactly the same as local flags of many regions around the world, such as Bohemia in the Czech Republic, Upper Austria or the Spanish province of Cantabria. The basic design is at the same time very similar to the flags of Monaco and Indonesia, both of which have the red bit in the upper half, while the lower half is white. The second design is used abroad in order to prevent things getting mixed up.
If you see the Flag with the coat of arms in a shop in Poland, don’t buy it. Go for the basic two-colour design.

If you are a home owner, even if you weren’t born in Poland, you might consider it a good idea to put the flag outside your property. However unlike public institutions you are not lawfully obliged to. If you do it, there are some official guidelines to follow (based on a Sejm Act, but again: there are no sanctions for not acting accordingly).
– The national flag may be on display from sunrise to sunset. Light should be installed if the flag is displayed longer;
– The national flag should be clean at all times, colour and pattern ought to be clear, the flag cannot be crumpled or frayed;
– The flag may not be put out in rainy days or in strong wind;
– The flag should not touch the ground or the base of the mast.

The law does not regulate the display of the European Union or other (for instance UK) flags. However priority should always be considered and the Polish flag should always have the prime location.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Toruń knows how to put out the flags correctly. They wouldn’t want to prosecute themselves would they?

Public Prosecutor\'s Office

Four basic-design flags.

* * *

The Police Constabulary added the flag of the EU

Police Constabulary

Very well. The fourth anniversary of joining the EU is also well-worth commemorating. But shouldn’t the Polish flag be on the right? Mhmmm…

* * *

Flag enthusiast.

Although the administrator of this apartment building did put a flag out in the front, this resident obviously though it wasn’t enough, and installed another on his own balcony. He or she is probably a good patriot. The second white and yellow flag is the flag of the Vatican State. It’s an indication that the person who lives here is a keen Roman Catholic (or the apartment is a mohair beret army headquarters).

* * *

Flag heaven

Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church is not most known for asceticism. The display of flags here is really generous. Two white and red Polish flags, and FOUR white and blue flags of the city of Toruń. The Polish flags are in the middle (thus: most important), everything is fine.
Maybe the reason for so many flags is that this church is making up for the Eastern Orthodox church on the other side of the road (not shown), which didn’t put any flags out at all?

* * *

Primary School number 24 in Toruń (or Heroes of September 1939 Primary School)

EU flags not present, but two Polish flags are there. Everything is fine.

* * *

International House Toruń – School of English

This is a school of English called International House, home to many English native speakers. If you take a closer look near the door, you still won’t know what the hell that flag is. Most certainly it is not the flag of Poland. This flag is actually an advertisement for the city’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2016. Why is it out there on a national holiday and not the proper flag?

International House – shame on you!

Accidentally this is also the school which taught me English for several years. You can blame my grammar mistakes on them. (Send your hate-mail to ul. Legionów 15, Toruń 87-100). :)

* * *

Is it a ship? Is it a plane?

I assure you that this is not a Polish consulate on foreign soil, but a block of flats in Toruń. The administrator probably likes this style “better”.

* * *

Think locally, act locally

This dated residence with an abandoned front garden is occupied by a really unfriendly dog. The owner decided to put out one city flag – and no national flag. Since there is no obligation to put out a Polish flag, while other flags are unregulated, such a case is permissible (since not forbidden)

* * *

If you put out a flag on national holiday, do it with consideration.

* * *

Although the May holidays are the most celebrated, there are other opportunities for putting up the flag. Here is your Polish year-round flag-calendar:
– May the 18th, the day that commemorates the apprehension of Monte Casino, one of the major battles of the Second World War with a considerable Polish effort
– If you live in Poznań: June 28th, which commemorates the Poznań Protests of 1956
– If you live in Warsaw: August 1st, which commemorates the beginning of the 1944 Warsaw Rising
– anywhere in Poland: August 15th, which commemorates the winning 1920 Battle for Warsaw, one of the most important battles in World History
– August 31st – Solidarity and Freedom Day, which commemorates the establishment of “Solidarność” trade union, the first independent institution in communist world
– September 1st – 1939 German invasion on Poland, beginning of the Second World War, loss of independence for over 50 years
– September 17th – 1939 Soviet invasion on Poland
– November 11th – Independence Day, commemorates regaining independence in 1918 after 123 years of partitions
– December 13th – beginning of the Martial Law in 1981
– April 13th – World Day of Katyn Victims Remembrance
– April 19th – commemorates the beginning of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Rising

——
My newsblog is never on holiday.

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9 thoughts on “It’s bank holiday weekend. Put the flags out!

  1. island1 says:

    Hey flagwatcher! Nice job.

    Btw, what is that blue and white flag? I was under the impression it was a local Krakow flag, but obviously not. You describe it as ‘municipal’ and I’ve seen it described as ‘Marian’ suggesting it has something to do with the church.

  2. darthsida says:

    Marian? Why, no.

  3. michael farris says:

    Okay, so what is the pale-blue and white flag?

    What Polish word is ‘municipal’ supposed to be?

    Someone once told me it’s the church (as opposed to Vatican) flag. That would make some sense I guess.

  4. Pawel says:

    No no no…

    The white and pale-blue flag is the flag of the city of Torun:)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toru%C5%84

    Accidentally Kraków has the same flag:)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krak%C3%B3w

    I thought municipal meant exactly that, if it doesn’t I’ll edit my post to clear this out:)

    Church flag is the white and yellow one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krak%C3%B3w – however Poles don’t pay that much attention to how it exactly should look

  5. michael farris says:

    The thing is I see the same blue-white flag in Poznan.

    Why would people in Poznan hang the city flag of Torun (and Cracow?)

  6. michael farris says:

    Okay! I found it!

    It’s the Marian flag of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland

    http://flagspot.net/flags/rel-rc.html#mary

    http://flagspot.net/flags/rel-rc.html#pol

    (and only by coincidence the city flag of Torun and Cracow?)

  7. Pawel says:

    Maybe white and blue are also the colours of Poznań?

    As for Toruń I’m quite sure this is the city flag:) It hangs proudly from the City Hall and the Old Town is decorated with them whenever there are some local holidays:)

    We need someone from Warsaw, where they have a flag in red and orange, to tell us if people there also use the white and blue (Scatts, can you help?) – maybe ti does have another hidden meaning – like you suggested maybe it is a Marian flag or something like that?

  8. Vurtz says:

    The white-blue flag represents Virgin Mary and appear all over Poland (and in particular in rural areas) for the same reason as papal flags: 1st and 3rd of may are important catholic church holidays. Similarity to some municipal flags is acctidental and I seriously doubt most of those hanging have any idea about it being also the flag of Torun, Krakow etc.

  9. Gabriela says:

    Here in Peru is mandatory to put the national flag in every house or building throughout July: our national anniversari is celebrated July 28th and 29th. If you don’t observe the rule, you can get a fine.
    And here we have all those type of flags too: with and without the coat of arms.
    By the way, I don’t think I’ll be sending a hate-mail to your school… or maybe it’s because we both must blame our grammar mistakes on someone. LOL
    Regards from Peru.

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