When I spoke to my mom on Saturday (June 15th), she reminded me that it was Valdemarsdag (Valdemar’s Day) in Denmark. She told me that people had their flags out and the entire country was celebrating because this year marked the 800th birthday of the Danish flag called Dannebrog, the oldest national flag in the world.
I had to ask for a reminder of the significance of Valdemarsdag. I didn’t remember what set June 15 as our flag’s birthday and why we call the day by that name.
Well, it’s all because of a legend, a good story we tell and celebrate. Legend has it that the Danish king Valdemar Sejr (Valdemar the Victorious) in 1219 led his army on a crusade in what is today Estonia. During the battle of Lyndanisse, on June 15, the Danes were on the defensive and struggling, when suddenly and miraculously, what later became known as Dannebrog fell from the sky! This sign gave the Danish army renewed hope and courage which ultimately led to their victory. And Denmark got its flag!
That’s the story….800 years old! A pretty good one, don’t you think?