Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's a flag thing

Last week two big things happened.  It was July 4th, Independence Day for Americans, and France played against Germany in the World Cup, having reached the round of 16.  Which means that my apartment window sported an American flag and that some of my neighbors and local stores got their French flags out.
The local supermarket showing its colors.

Americans are flag-proud, maybe too much so, according to other countries.  But at least we aren't ashamed of showing it off.  Any old excuse is good, national holidays, of course, but also just because we feel like it.  Remi is always amazed at how many houses have flags outside in my mom's neighborhood back home. 

But France is another story.  Besides July 14th, Bastille Day, and some holidays celebrating war victories, you would be hard-pressed to find people flying "le tricolor" (as their flag has three colors).  Except when their football (er, soccer) team is doing particularly well.  To me this seems like the French only proudly display their flag when sports teams are winning.

Since France got eliminated from the World Cup, life is getting back to normal, and most flags have disappeared from people's balconies and yards.  But I snapped a few pics before they took them down.

I fluttered lonely as a flag.
I asked a student of mine why French people weren't so keen on flag-waving and she had an interesting take on it.  She said maybe people associate the flag with the French Revolution and more recently, with the Front National political party. This party is extremely right wing and at times anti-foreigner, and their logo happens to have a design similar to the French flag.  So, my student reasoned, flag-bearing can be associated with nationalism.  

Oh, dear, sometimes I think the French need to take it easy a bit!  But then again, the Germans don't always like singing their anthem, as it brings back some bad memories from WWII.  Each country has their own cultural baggage, like the Confederate flag in the US.

One good thing, Juliette can support both of her nationalities at the same time with
this dress!

How do you feel about your country's flag?  Is it common to fly it at any time of the year?