Why Does Scotland Have Two Flags? (Scotland Flag Meaning)
Scotland has a long and fascinating history, and its flag has served as a representation of this proud country for many years.
But to further confuse matters, as we often do in Scotland, there are actually two different flags for Scotland as well as one for the United Kingdom. So which one is actually the Scottish flag?
How many flags are there in Scotland?
Scotland has two recognized national flags. The first is the Lion Rampant, also called the Royal Standard of Scotland. On a yellow background, a red lion is roaring on this flag. The official flag of Scotland, also known as the St. Andrew’s Cross or the Saltire, is the second flag. This flag has a blue background with a white saltire, or cross.
Compared to most other countries on the planet, Scotland is pretty unusual in that it has two flags. Scotland has two flags, but only the Saltire is the official one. However, you might have also noticed another.
This yellow and red flag with a lion emblem is frequently seen in cities, at sporting events, and flown in front of the country’s gift shops. What is it then? What is its name? Why is it present in Scotland? What does it stand for, then?
All of that and much more will be covered in the questions that follow. Expect some quick history lessons, some truly surprising information, and a ton of interesting trivia.
Why Does Scotland Have Two Flags?
Scotland only has one recognized flag, the blue and white “Saltire,” once more. For the same reasons that every country has a single official flag, it has this one.
The second flag, however, stands for something entirely different.
This second flag, also known as the Scottish “Lion Rampant,” serves as an unofficial (yet beloved) symbol of Scotland. It offers significant new information about the nation’s kings and queens’ past and heritage.
We’ve talked about the two flags, what they signify, what they stand for, and how they differ from one another.
The official Saltire comes first!
What is the Official National Flag of Scotland?
The answer is that The Saltire, which is a diagonal white cross on a blue background, is the official flag of Scotland and is used to symbolize the country.
The Union Jack is the flag of the United Kingdom, while the Lion Rampant, which features a red lion against a yellow background, is the second flag of Scotland (more specifically, the flag of Scotland’s royalty).
This comprehensive guide to Scottish flags contains the answer to the question “Why does Scotland have two flags?” as well as some information that may surprise you.
Why is the Scotland flag blue with a white cross?
The Saltire, or St. Andrew’s cross, is the name of Scotland’s national flag. One of the oldest flags in existence, it has one of the most straightforward designs, but it is also one of the most striking.
But from where did it come?
The Saltire has a straightforward blue background with a white diagonal cross running from corner to corner, as seen in the image above.
The French word “salteur” is the source of the English word “saltire,” which refers to a wooden stile made of two crossed pieces of wood. However, that is not where the design originates.
Actually, there are two hypotheses that explain how Scotland’s flag was created, and both of them involve Scotland’s patron saint, St. Andrew.
In the first version of events, St. Andrew established a church in the region that is now known as St. Andrews in Fife while on one of his numerous journeys to spread the gospel.
As Christianity spread throughout Scotland, the Scots adopted St. Andrew’s virtues and adopted his symbol, the X-shaped cross, as a representation of their country.
Because it is well known that St. Andrew objected to being crucified in the same manner as Jesus, the Romans chose to execute him on an X-shaped cross.*
*St. Andrew was formally made the patron saint of Scotland when its independence was proclaimed in the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, and the X symbol was subsequently used to denote Scottish armies in battle.
The Roman Emperor Constantine, who is rumored to have seen a vision of the symbol XP (the first two letters of the word “Christ” in Greek), is said to have been one of St. Andrew’s strongest devotees. This theory’s slight flaw is that it’s very possible that early Picts actually modelled themselves on Constantine.
This suggests that the Saltire’s cross may not have come directly from St. Andrew’s crucifix but rather from the story of Constantine’s vision.
The cross on the Saltire is thought to have its roots in a long-ago conflict between Scottish raiders and an English army, according to the second and most widely accepted theory.
A mixed army of Picts and Scots led by King Angus mac Fergus made a raid into the Lothians (in what is now known as East Lothian) in the year 832 AD, but they were pursued by a much larger army of Angles and Saxons.
It was clear the Scots would lose the battle when the two armies finally clashed in the East Lothian village of Athelstaneford because there were significantly fewer soldiers on the Scottish side.
According to legend, King Angus saw a white X-shaped cross of clouds appear in the sky above, set against a brilliant blue sky, as he prayed for victory.
King Angus took this to be a sign from St. Andrew, and he made a promise that if the saint assisted in his victory, he would always be the patron saint of Scotland.
While there is no proof that the vision of clouds in the sky ever occurred, it is true that a battle between the two armies did take place at Athelstaneford. King Angus did lead his army to a decisive victory as a result, and St. Andrew was subsequently designated as the patron saint of Scotland.
A few centuries later, all Scottish army uniforms bore the cross of St. Andrew to distinguish Scots from their adversaries.
However, the cross was frequently overlaid on a black background back then; however, in honor of King Angus’ vision, this eventually changed to the blue we now recognize.
The background’s blue color changed over time as fabric dyeing techniques became more sophisticated, but it also changed regionally due to the various types of plants used in Scotland’s dye industry.
This resulted in a lack of uniformity in the Saltire, with some regions using a dark blue and others a light blue. The Scottish government finally fixed this in 2003 by standardizing the flag with the Pantone 300 color, which is a slightly different hue from the one used in the Union Jack and will be discussed later in this article.
What is the “Yellow Flag With Red Lion” – Scottish flag?
The Lion Rampant is Scotland’s second “unofficial” flag.
Tourists may not be aware of the significance of this flag because it is well-known in Scotland but is less frequently seen elsewhere.
The Royal Banner of Scotland or the Royal Flag of Scotland are other names for the Lion Rampant, which provides significant information about its history.
The Lion Rampant was first used as Alexander II’s royal emblem in Scotland in 1222 AD, according to historical records. It is likely that the design was appropriated and modified for use by Scottish royalty since it is known that at the time, a figure of a lion was a part of the English royal emblem.
The flag uses a bright yellow background rather than a dark blue one, which makes it very different from the Saltire. A standing lion with three extended claws can be seen in the center of the flag, ready for battle.
Although the fleur-de-lis embellishment was not added until after Alexander II’s death in 1249, the lion is surrounded by a double border of the same color.
Even today, the lion rampant is still flown, but it is only permitted to do so when the Queen is not present at royal residences like Holyrood Palace and Balmoral Castle.
The Royal Standard sometimes takes the place of the Lion Rampant when the Queen is present (a flag that represents the Sovereign and the United Kingdom).
Does that imply that it is forbidden to fly the Lion Rampant?
The correct response is that, in accordance with British law, it is indeed unlawful to fly this particular flag in Scotland (save for at a royal residence, as previously mentioned).
To this day, the Lion Rampant is proudly waved alongside the Saltire at sporting events, political rallies, and even on souvenir stands (take a stroll down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to see what I mean). This hasn’t stopped its use, though.
Although it’s virtually impossible to get in trouble for flying the Lion Rampant, there have been a few instances where businesses have been penalized for doing so.
If the flag is ever used improperly, anyone found guilty could face a £100 fine for each day it is displayed until it is taken down.
Despite not receiving a fine, the Scottish National Party and Rangers FC have both recently received stern warnings for misusing the Lion Rampant.
What is the Union Jack?
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the other flag you’re likely to see while visiting Scotland. You may not know what this striking red, white, and blue flag actually stands for, but it is displayed at almost all British events.
The official flag of the United Kingdom, which is made up of the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is the Union Jack.
If you’re curious, the terms “Great Britain” and “United Kingdom” are interchangeable, but they actually refer to the British mainland island of England, Scotland, and Wales.
The three heraldic crosses of England, Scotland, and Wales make up the Union Jack, but it wasn’t until the Act of Union of Ireland with England (and Wales) and Scotland in 1801 that it took on its present appearance.
In the 1270s, the English cross of St. George (a red cross on a white background) was added to the flag. In 1606, the Scottish cross of St. Andrews (a white diagonal cross on a blue background) was added, and in 1801, the Irish cross of St. Patrick (a diagonal red cross on a white background) was added.
Prior to 2012, the Union Jack could only be flown on royal forts and castles, despite the fact that it is frequently flown alongside the Saltire and the Lion Rampant.
Except for major events that might need local planning authority, there is no longer a requirement for permission to fly the Union Jack on any building thanks to a 2012 relaxation of the rules.
The Union Jack is proudly flown everywhere in Scotland, including pubs, sporting venues, and private residences, though it is typically less frequently used than the Saltire because it is viewed as a symbol of the entire United Kingdom.
FAQs about Why Does Scotland Have Two Flags?
Why does Tenerife have the same flag as Scotland?
At first glance, the flag of Tenerife resembles the Scottish Saltire, but the background blue is a different shade of blue (navy blue opposed to Pantone 300 blue).
Although the colors of Tenerife’s flag have no official meaning, it is widely believed that the blue represents the sea that surrounds the island and the white represents Mount Teide, which is covered in snow on the island.
Why is the St Andrew’s cross the flag of Scotland?
St. Andrew was named the country’s patron saint in the Declaration of Arbroath, which also proclaimed Scotland’s independence in 1320.
An X-shaped cross, on which St. Andrew was crucified, became the emblem of Scotland and is shown on the Saltire, the country’s flag.
Is the unicorn Scotland’s national animal?
Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn. Early Celts adopted this mythical creature as their symbol because Scots are known for their fierce independence and incapability to be conquered.
The unicorn made its debut in the Scottish royal coat of arms in the middle of the fifteenth century, where two of them stood either side of a lion. One of the unicorns was changed to a lion to symbolize the union of England and Scotland after the union of the crowns in 1603.
When was Scotland founded?
When Kenneth MacAlpin united the disparate Pict, Angle, Gaelic, and Norse tribes, modern Scotland was established. In the year 843 AD, he was crowned king of Alba, the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland.
Topic: Why Does Scotland Have Two Flags? (Scotland Flag Meaning)
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By: Travel Pixy