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Flag Days

Flag days (or flag-flying days) are days when national institutions, organizations, and citizens are encouraged to fly their country’s flag.

Flag Days honor a country's flag.


Flag Day or Flag-Flying Day?

When you see flag day used as the holiday type, then this day is a flag-flying day.

When you see it as part of the holiday’s name, it is a flag day.

At timeanddate.com, we use the term “flag day” both for days that specifically celebrate a country’s flag and for a type of holiday that some countries define as days where the national flag is flown.

Examples for Flag Days

Many countries foster national identity and honor a common history by celebrating a flag day.

One example is National Flag Day in the United States, observed on June 14 each year. This date commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States in 1777. On Flag Day, citizens may display the flag at their homes, participate in patriotic events, and reflect on the significance of the American flag.

Examples for Flag-Flying Days

Flag-flying days are days when a nation’s institutions and organizations—and, in some cases, every citizen—are encouraged to fly the country’s flag. These are usually holidays or observances with national significance, such as:

  • Independence Day (USA): Celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The American flag is often placed outside homes and buildings on July 4.
  • ANZAC Day (Australia): April 25 is a day to honor the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and those who served in the military. Also celebrated in New Zealand.
  • Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s Day (Norway): Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway was born on January 21, 2004. Her birthday is celebrated country-wide by flying the Norwegian flag.

Are Flag Days Public Holidays?

Most flag days are not public holidays, but some public holidays are flag-flying days. United States Independence Day on July 4, Liberation Day in Uganda on January 26, the Norwegian National Day on May 17, and the Colombian Independence Day on July 20 are all public holidays and flag-flying days.

Defined by Law

Both flag days and flag-flying days are usually designated by law, and many countries regulate when, where, how, and by whom a flag can be raised and flown. Often, flying the national flag on public buildings is mandatory on flag days.

Full-Staff and Half-Staff

Additionally, there are regulations for when a flag can be flown full-staff or full-mast and when it must be flown half-staff or half-mast. In most countries, a flag at half-staff signifies mourning or respect. Many times, it is done to honor the death of a significant person or after a tragedy. In the US, the flag is also flown half-staff on Memorial Day until noon and on Patriot Day on September 11, among other days enumerated in law.