Flag of New Scotland (Nova Scotia)

[Flag] Flag of New Scotland (Nova Scotia)

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Michael Soon posed a question about the Nova Scotia flag to Janet MacKay, who copied her response to Alasdair McKay for wisdom and comment. See Flag of New Scotland (Nova Scotia)

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> On Wed, 27 Dec 1995, Michael Soon wrote:
> > Could someone tell me what the colours in the flag (white and
> > blue) stands for?

I presume the original question relates to the Scottish saltire.  As 
Janet says, this is usually considered to have been adopted much as 
Janet has described. 

> 	There was a very crucial and significant battle in Scotland 
> back in the 1300s, the name and nature of which escapes me right now.  
> During or after the battle, a white cross appeared in the sky. It was 
> perceived to be the cross of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.

An earlier date, I think --  back in the latter part of the dark ages. 
The omen would have had to have occurred before the crucial point of the 
battle ... or at least someone would have had to have convinced the rest 
of the throng that it had done so at that time. 

Quite what meterological phenomenon could have produced the effect is 
unclear - there would have been no vapour trails from jet aircraft such 
as can readily produce this effect today.

I was thinking that it was the appearance of this omen which caused the 
Scots to adopt St. Andrew as their patron Saint. 

Whatever the case -- it is all sufficiently ancient for the finer details 
to be a bit vague ..  which is all to the good, because no-one is likely 
ever to get into a position of digging up any evidence to the contrary.

> 	So, the blue and the white of the Scottish flag ..... and the St. 
> Andrews Cross is used in the flag of Nova Scotia  also.

In the N.S. flag, which dates from the 1620s, the blue and white are of 
course reversed. The only reason which I can think of for the reversal 
would be a desire to follow the heraldic principle that metals ( silver 
and gold ) be juxtaposed with enamels but not with the other metal - nor 
enamel with enamel.

The N.S. flag has the Royal Scottish lion rampant emblazoned on the
colour-reversed saltire. The external border of the lion is yellow (gold)
and it would be inappropriate to have this come against the white (silver)
of the Scottish Saltire, but quite proper for it to come up against an
azure ( sky-blue ) enamel.  These conventions arose out of technological
considerations which arose in the making of shields decorated with the
bearers arms - two colours (enamels) had to be separated by a metal to
prevent the colours from blending with each other during the manufacturing
procedure. Although not a technological consideration in flag making, such
conventions were followed quite strictly in flags, other that naval
ensigns (even by people like George Washington) up until the emergence of
new nations in the post WW2 era of the 20th century. 

It is also interesting that the Nova Scotia flag is the only emblem
whereon one can properly display the Scottish Lion Rampant separated from
other components of the post-1603 Royal Arms and on occasions when the
monarch is not present in person. 

It is improper to fly the Lion Rampant as an emblem on its own at any 
time (other than for historical re-enactments) - and these days it is 
somewhat amusing to see this symbol, peculiar to the monarchy, flown 
by supporters of a Scottish Republic.

Alasdair McKay

Michael Soon responded:
Subject: Re: Colours in the flag

>Alasdair McKay

Thank you very much for the information.  The grade 5 at Douglas Road
Elementary school will be fascinated by the story of the origin of the 
St. Andrew cross.  Jason Soon, who originated the question, is doing a
class project on Scotland.  He and we send you best wishes for the 
holidays and a properous new year 1996. 

Contact Alasdair McKay

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