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)
> 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
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.