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Spain: Flag-related mourning customs

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: spain | españa | coat of arms: quartered (castle: yellow) | coat of arms: quartered (lion: purpure) | coat of arms: quartered (chains: yellow) | banderas | vexilología |
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Flag-related mourning customs

    [Mourning Flag (Spain)]

[Mourning Flag (Spain)]

[Mourning Flag (Spain)]    

In Spain, the most frequent alternative to flying a flag half mast to indicate mourning is to stitch a small piece of black material (either a short cravatte or a squarish piece of material – occasionally even a black handkerchief) to the centre of the flag. This is done almost only with flags not intended for hoisting, such as long flags displayed horizontally on balconies etc. Flags not intended for hoisting but which would be inappropriately defaced by such an addition (namely military colours) tend to use a black cravatte attached to the finial.

Santiago Dotor, 27 Apr 2001

In a press photo linked yesterday or the day before, a flag of Spain was shown on an indoor staff behind Sr. Aznar with a black bow pinned over the COA in the center. This, evidently, in lieu of the cravat, which was discussed here a few weeks ago – that is, a black ribbon tied with a large bow at the top of the hoist and falling approximately the length of the fly straight down.

Bill Dunning, 13 Mar 2004

The black bow – known as the crespon negro ("black cravatte") – can and often does take the form of a torn piece of black cloth stitched to the centre of the flag.

As for the length of the cravatte tied a the hoist – it was, I believe, originally an actual black cravatte (neckerchief) so I suspect the length is not specific or laid down.

Marten Gallagher, 13 Mar 2004

Here (PDF) is the Royal Decree ordering half-staffing on public buildings and Navy ships during three days after Thursday's bombs.

Santiago Dotor, 15 Mar 2004

Earlier this year I saw a Spanish flag in Madrid, hanging from the top edge at the balcony of a household, with two black ribbons crossing it out, saltirewise (Flickr photo).

I think it was some kind of March 11 remembrance (Atocha train station bombings in 2004). I never saw this flag mourning use, either in Spain of anywhere else.

António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 Oct 2008

I saw the Spanish flag in a Flickr photo which you described as having "two black ribbons crossing it out, saltirewise." In the photo, it seems like the two top ends meet making a massive and centered black ribbon. Could this have been the case?

This is just a thought as I have seen the ribbon in all different sizes but have never seen the saltire-like black cross and does not look like something a Spaniard would do to his flag.

Patrick Cunningham, 20 Jun 2010

Surely so, yes. As the photo shows, the upper flag of the flag (and of the ribbon) was hidden from me: The loop of an "X"-shaped ribbon could very well be there. It makes more sense as an oversized mourning ribbon, like [the first flag to the right], and doesn't seem to be a "crossed-out" anti-Spanish flag (like, say, these anti-EU flags).

António Martins-Tuválkin, 02 Jul 2010

images by Antonio Gutiérrez and Eugene Ipavec, 12 Jan and 02 Jul 2010