The white cross and red field of the flag of Denmark is recognized by many as the Scandinavian cross. For centuries upon centuries it has led Christians into battle against infidels. That is why many surrounding countries made their own versions after the Danish officially adopted the cross as their national flag in 1748.
Denmark named its flag the Dannebrog, which can mean “the flag of the Danes” or “the red flag.” Its religious origins make its people especially superstitious of letting their flag hit the ground. They say that it fell from Heaven so it cannot touch the Earth. It also cannot be raised or left hoisted at night because that is a salute to the Devil.
Stories have been told about the Dannebrog for almost a millennium. Before the Danish made it theirs, Roman Emperor Constantine saw it in his dreams the night before the battle that made him an absolute monarch.
Danish legend says the flag chose them on June 15th, 1219 at the Battle of Lyndanesse.
The Danes were fighting Estonia in the name of the Northern Crusades. King Vlademar II was struggling to keep morale high as his army neared defeat.
So Bishop Anders Sunesen went to the top of a hill to pray. When he stretched his arms to the Heavens, the Danish army gained advantage. They faltered when he faltered. There came a point that Bishop Sunesen could no longer hold his arms above his head and was forced to drop them. The Estonian army surged forward.
That is the moment that the Dannebrog fell from the sky. King Vlademar II caught it and showed it to his soldiers. It gave them the courage to defeat Estonia.
In the early 1500s the flag was lost to the German army during King Hans’ battle against them in the Ditmarshes. Frederik II recaptured it in 1559.
Since then, the flag has been put on coins in several countries. The Portugese put it on their gold with the words “in hoc signo vinces”, or “under this sign you shall be victorious.”
The Denmark flag has variants for military and royal use.
The Splitflag is the traditional Danish flag but with a swallow-tail at the base of the cross. It is used on land. The Orlongsflag is a bit elongated and bears a darker shade of red. This version is used at sea.
The Royal Standard is a Splitflag with the Queen’s coat of arms laid over the center of the cross.