The origins of the Poland Flag go back to the 13th century and have begun as a coat of arms with a white eagle on a red shield. The white symbolized peace and the red stood for the blood shed over the centuries for the country’s freedom and independence. The colors have been permanently adapted and remained unchanged since 1831 when Poland first gained its independence from Russia. The shield was changed to a flag in 1919 with two horizontal stripes, white and red. In 1990, the coat of arms with the eagle was added to the white upper half of the flag while the lover red stripe remained untouched. This variation of the Polish flag is used in selected locations and on selected occasions only.
In efforts to sustain the history, a Flag Day was established in Poland on May 2, 2004. The significance of the national symbols is proudly displayed at all important events. It is a public demonstration of patriotism and dedication to one’s country. Because of Poland’s turbulent past and régime imposed for many years by other countries, Polish nation is composed of people who are extremely loyal and proud, especially the older generations. All national holidays include the displays of the Polish Flag.
Polish law states that the flag can be manifested everywhere as long as it is presented in a respectful manner. Any disrespect, intentional removal or destruction is punishable by heavy fines or up to one month of imprisonment. The flag is not typically used to commemorate birthdays, weddings or any other personal events. It is rather displayed during significant national events, such as Pope’s visit or election of the president. It is also used during the sporting events and as part of the logos for various entities, such as airports and consulates.
The Polish Flag is displayed in different manners for different occasions. In the time of mourning, the flag is hoisted to the half of the pole. It is first hoisted to the top, and then lowered halfway. When the flag is presented upside down, it denotes time of distress. In times of peace, the Polish Flag is displayed next to the flags of other nations, but never above or under any other flag. It is forbidden by law to draw, write or attach any insignias to the flag. It is never to be placed on the ground. Faded flags should be burned in a private ceremony with all due respect.