July 25, 2016
Every four years since 1896, the Summer Olympics are held in a pre-selected host city for several weeks. This year (2016) the Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These games will be the first to be held in South America and the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere in recent years since the Sydney games in 2000.
Every Olympic games holds an Opening Ceremony, featuring spectacular performances, music, culture, and more. In the midst of the Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Nations, which usually take place in a stadium, arena, or another type of venue in the host nation. The Parade of Nations is where the participating countries parade into the venue, carrying their flag, along with their national team. The teams usually range from one person to several hundred. Each team has a flagbearer, and the flagbearer is picked due to various reasons. Sometimes the flagbearer may be the sole team member, a medal hopeful, a medal winner from the previous games, or an official from the nation’s team. Larger nations like the United States elect their flagbearer
The Parade of Nations is led by Greece and ends with the host nation, which in this year’s case is Brazil. The parade will proceed according to the host nation’s alphabet. The names of the countries are written in the host nation’s language, so it will be listed in a different order. The reason Greece goes first in the parade is because they are the country who originally started the Olympics, so they always go first (with the exception of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when they went last as they were the host).
It is tradition for the flagbearers to dip (or lower) their country’s flag as a sign of respect, except for the case of the United States. When the US marches in the Parade of Nations, it is tradition for the flagbearer not to dip the flag to the leader of the host nation. This was apparently have been the case since the 1908 Olympics when the flagbearer, Ralph Rose, who was an Irish-American, said “The flag dips to no earthly king”. It is unknown particularly WHY it was done but it was made permanent after the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Fast Fact: There is also a Parade of Nations for the Winter Olympics, as well!
December 13, 2010
The winter solstice is just around the corner, and the Winter Solstice Windsock from the United States Flag Store is the perfect way to welcome the shortest day of the year!
The winter solstice is December 21 at exactly 11:38PM and refers to the moment when the Earth is at the farthest point from the sun in its orbit. Although the solstice only occurs for an instant, the term is used to refer to the first day of winter and also the shortest day (longest night) of the year. From this day forward, the days will gradually get longer until the summer solstice, in June.
Many cultures have and continue to honor and observe the winter solstice. In ancient times, surviving the winter was not always certain, so reaching the winter solstice marked an important time to make sure one had enough food in reserves to last until spring. In more temperate areas, the winter solstice marked a final celebration that included slaughtering animals that wouldn’t survive the winter and drinking the first of the fermented grains prepared from the wheat harvest. Still other cultures celebrate the birth or rebirth of sun gods.
Even now, many people gather at the winter solstice in order to have something to look forward to on the darkest day of the year. These gatherings most notably occur in arctic regions of the world where winter daylight hours are few and seasonal depression is more common.
No matter what your winter solstice traditions are, the Winter Solstice Windsock is a great way to beat the winter blues! Featuring a bright wintry scene complete with trees, stars, and snow in bright and bold blues and greens, just looking at this windsock will brighten your day! Even better, it’s fade and mildew resistant so it’s sure to last a harsh winter. Don’t forget to order the matching garden flag to really brighten your outdoor décor!
December 13, 2010
Winter is here—complete with snow—and your home décor isn’t complete without a Winter Garden Flag from the United States Flag Store! With an awesome selection of designs and new ones always arriving, winter may get old, but your flags will not!
If whimsical flags are your style, you’ll find a great selection of adorable winter-themed flags. The Mitten Applique Flag features an cute mitten cutout decorated in bold blue, green, and purple colors. The flag is garden sized (12.5” x 18”) and is fade and mildew resistant. The Snowman Applique Flag is an absolutely adorable way to decorate your house! The flag features a smiling snowman donning a big black hat, scarf, and red patches. To top it off, a little red bird sits on a holly leaf on his hat!
If you really like snowmen, the United States Flag Store has several great snowmen flags. The Chilly Snowman Applique Flag features an appliqued snowman wearing earmuffs and a scarf looking at a bird in a Christmas tree. “Welcome” is written across the bottoms in a cute handwritten style, making it look like the snowman wrote the word himself!
The Snowman Pyramid Flag features six happy snowmen wearing hats, scarves, and mittens, standing on top of one another in a pyramid on a starry night. If six snowmen is too many, the Winter Snowman Flag features one chilly, but heartwarming, snowman wearing a Christmas-colored scarf, hat, and mitten. Two red bird fly in the green and red background. Best of all, this design is also available in a banner flag and mailbox cover to make a complete set!
The United States Flag Store also has a beautiful selection of scenic winter flags. Choose from plenty of bird flags featuring blue birds, chickadees, and cardinals. Or, welcome winter with a beautifully designed snowflake flag, all available at the United States Flag Store’s website!
December 11, 2009
By Kristi Ries
It’s that time of year again: evergreen wreaths hang on doorways, homemade cookies are baking and fireplaces are aglow all across America. There’s a chill with a scent of chimney smoke in the air, and freshly cut evergreens can be found atop minivans everywhere.
In the throes of winter, the darkest and bleakest months of the year, countless Americans venture out to adorn their lawns and houses in a festive display for the season. Neighbors crane their necks to see intricate light patterns and tall nutcracker cut-outs; elaborate decorations offer an excellent excuse for long holiday joyrides after dark to see lights, reindeer, sleighs and bright candles on a winter’s eve.
Such decorations have become a personal expression of pride in one’s home and in celebration of various religious holidays. Colorful lights and nativity displays, menorahs in windows and garland on doorways are just another way to welcome friends and loved ones to your home during this especially chilly time of year.
As people struggle to untangle last year’s Christmas lights, they might also consider another type of decoration this winter: holiday flags. You can hang a 3D Santa banner flag to honor the wonder of Old Saint Nick; a red poinsettia flower and the words “Seasons Greetings” invite all to share in the joys of the season. You can herald in the Christmas holiday with a trumpeting angel, or display banners of a Christmas tree, a jolly snowman or the Three Wise Men. Hannukah begins this Friday, December 11 at sundown, and several elegant Hannukah flags showcase a Dreidel, the Star of David and a menorah to celebrate the eight-day Festival of Light.
Easy to hang and available in a range of designs, these jubilant flags make a great statement outside your home. They’re also a great gift for your friends and family.
Once these joyous occasions have come to a close, there are still more colorful ways to brighten up the season. Snowflake flags are great all-purpose winter greetings for your snow-covered yard, and New Year’s flags are the perfect way to show you’re ready to ring in 2010! Consider adding one to the beauty and warmth of your home today.