The Blue Flag With White X is the Scottish flag (Scottish Gaelic: bratach na h-Alba; Scots: Banner o Scotland, often known as St Andrew’s Cross or the Saltire).
It is legal for British car owners to display the blue flag with white X alongside the letters “SCO” or the word “Scotland” on their licence plates if they reside in Scotland.
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How is the Blue Flag With White X Designed?
The blue flag with white x features a white saltire on a blue background. From the old French saultoir (salteur), which can imply either a stile consisting of two cross pieces or a stirrup string with an X-shaped end, comes the heraldic term “saltire” for the X-shaped cross.
Different dyes were used to transform the Saltire flag’s background from sky blue to a deeper shade of blue.
Eventually, as a result of these variations in colour, there were proposals to standardise the colour of the Scottish flag.
In 2003, the Scottish Parliament officially adopted Pantone 300, a stunning rich blue that is unique from the royal blue of the British flag.
How Do I Describe the History of the Blue Flag with White X?
St. Andrew, “the first to be an Apostle,” is credited for converting Scotland to Christianity in the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath.
The Guardians of Scotland used a seal from 1286 that depicted the saint being crucified on a decussate cross, but such images were on Scottish seals as early as 1180.
Saint Crucified was also featured on the seal of Bishop William de Lamberton (reign: 1297–1328). In the Middle Ages, the saltire (decussate cross, diagonal cross) was employed as a field sign, unrelated to Saint Andrew.
It’s possible that by the 14th century in Scotland, people were making connections between the field symbol and the saint’s crucifixion in legend.
The Parliament of Scotland ordered that all Scottish and French soldiers fighting against the English under Richard II “shall have a sign before and behind, namely a white St. Andrew’s Cross” in 1385.
At the Battle of Otterburn (1388), James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas is said to have flown a pennon with a saltire at the hoist.
The “Blue Blanket of the Trades of Edinburgh,” said to have been produced by Queen Margaret, wife of James III (1451-1488), also had a white saltire in the canton.
Edinburgh’s annual Riding of the Marches celebration revolves around this flag, which represents the city’s Incorporated Trades.
The carrack Great Michael was the first to fly the white “Sanct Androis cors” on blue in 1507. The white saltire on a blue field first appears in a heraldic context in the 1542 armorial of David Lyndsay.
Two unicorns, each with a saltire flag, stand in support of the royal arms here.
What are the Functions of the Blue Flag with White X?
- For General Use:
Anyone in Scotland, including private citizens, businesses, governments, hospitals, and schools, may fly the Saltire at any time without prior approval.
The Saltire flag is flown by many Scottish municipalities and is displayed at Council Buildings.
However, in 2007, Angus Council voted to adopt a new Angus flag based on the council’s coat of arms to replace the Saltire on Council Buildings.
More than 7,000 individuals across Scotland signed a petition in opposition to the council’s decision, and as a result, the council compromised by agreeing to fly the Angus flag beside the Saltire.
It is legal for British car owners to display the Saltire alongside the letters “SCO” or the word “Scotland” on their licence plates if they reside in Scotland.
The Scottish flag was featured on the ‘2nd’ value stamp from a series of pictorial stamps issued by the Royal Mail for Scotland in 1999.
Many Protestants in Northern Ireland proudly display the Saltire to show their connection to Scotland and Ulster.
- For Use By the Scottish Government:
The Saltire, the national flag of Scotland, must be displayed at all government buildings in Scotland from 8 a.m. to dusk, every day of the year.
On “national days” in the United Kingdom, the Saltire is to be lowered and replaced by the Union Flag on structures with only one flagpole.
In Scotland, the Red Ensign of the Merchant Navy may be flown on land in place of the Saltire or Union Flag on Merchant Navy Day (3 September), a flag day that is otherwise normal across the United Kingdom.
On Saint Andrew’s Day (30 November), the Union Flag is flown only when there is more than one flagpole; the Saltire is not lowered to make room for the Union Flag where there is only one flagpole.
This is a further distinction between Scottish flag days and UK flag days. The Saltire may be flown alongside the Union Flag, but not higher, on sites with several flagpoles.
This distinction developed after members of the Scottish Parliament voiced concern that their country was the only one in which citizens might be prevented from flying their national flag on the day that their country celebrated its independence.
The Saltire has also been flown in British embassies around the world in recent years to commemorate St. Andrew’s Day. Logos for numerous Scottish Government agencies have been inspired by the flag.
- For Use By the Scottish Military:
The Saltire is used in various forms by the seven Scottish Division British Army Infantry battalions, as well as the Scots Guards and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards regiments.
Decal versions of the Saltire, measuring about 130 mm by 80 mm, may be affixed to the front and/or back of the combat and transport vehicles used by these Army units (and, in the case of tanks, to the turret as well).
The Saltire was flown from the communications whip antenna of vehicles belonging to these forces in Iraq during both Operation Granby and the subsequent Operation Telic.
Casualties of these operations in Iraq, as well as those slain in operations in Afghanistan, have been seen to have the Saltire draped over their coffins at their funerals, done with full military honours.
As part of the British Army’s effort to win the “hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people in the region southwest of Baghdad, the Saltire was once again flown by Scottish regiments to set them apart from other coalition forces.
Members of the Black Watch handed out leaflets to Iraqi citizens that depicted troops and vehicles on a Saltire background.
Read also: The Design of the Missouri Flag
Tip-Off: What Does the Blue Flag with White X Symbolize?
Scotland’s flag is blue with a white X (a saltire) in the centre, which stands for Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. It is commonly referred to as “the Saltire” or “Saint Andrew’s Cross.”
St. Andrew did not feel worthy to endure the same fate as Jesus Christ, thus he asked to be crucified on a saltire instead of a cross.
The flag’s design was inspired by the white wooden cross and the blue robe worn by Saint Andrew.
The Saltire flag, which was flown by those who voted “Yes” in the 2014 independence referendum, is a common symbol for Scottish independence supporters.
Those who support keeping Scotland a part of the United Kingdom raise the Union Flag as a gesture of solidarity with the “No” campaign.
Some Scots, however, feel proud to be a part of the United Kingdom and see both the Union flag and the saltire as symbols of their national identity.
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