The Red and The White
Day 007 – July 29, 2011
As mentioned in my previous entry, the Peruvian holiday known as Fiestas Patrias is a two-day affair and today was that second day. This day is set aside to honor the Peruvian armed forces and the National Police of the country.
Since arriving in this country a week ago to the day, I have seen Peru’s dual colors anywhere and everywhere a flag can be raised. From rooftops, from light poles, from stoplights, from taxis, and from balconies, the red and white banner of Peru flies and flutters.
I’m not sure if this is the official designation, but I read this following phrase in one of the local newspapers: La Semana de Bandera (“The Week of the Flag”). Makes sense to me.
I am guessing that this plethora of flags is due to the fact the independence of Peru is being celebrated. It’s just that power of deduction that makes me the Hercule Poirot of our household. I am curious to note when (if) the flags come down.
An interesting observation about the Peruvian flag is there appears to be two versions. You can jump here to a Wikipedia page to see both variants, but I’ll also try to describe them (and I’m not even getting paid by the word…point of fact, I’m not even getting paid).
The first, more basic, version consists of a red vertical band on the left, a white band down the middle, and another red vertical band on the right. The second version is the same red-white-red pattern, but inside the white band is the coat of arms of the country.
I like this concept. Imagine if there were two versions of Old Glory. Instead of a field of blue with fifty white stars, the variant version of the flag of the United States of America would have a [I’m sure your idea is much better than mine, so just go ahead and fill in this aside here with your suggestion].
Oddly enough, it does not feel odd to be completely surrounded by an unfamiliar flag. As I thought about it, I surmised that I should have felt disconcerted to see a flag that was different from what I was used to see flying from flagpoles for my past forty-two years, but yet it wasn’t. It’s probably the same way you feel when you visit a friend’s house and see that their kitchen is set up different from yours. It should bring up a feeling of “things not being quite right”, but then comes the realization that you’re a guest, so things are supposed to be different. You then move on to enjoy the wine and the company.
If you have a better analogy, entries can be submitted in the Comments section below.
UPDATE: OCTOBER 18, 2011
I have since learned from a pair of folks that I have chatted with and from this section of the Wikipedia article about Fiestas Patrias (oh, and from this photo blogger and from this writer also) that the flying of the Peruvian flag is mandatory although opinions differ on how strictly this obligation is enforced.
This requirement brings to mind a question, but before I pose my inquiry, I invoke Disclaimer No. 1.
So I ask,” How patriotic is it to fly a flag if one is required to do it?”
Yes, I know I am a guest and I realize I feel like I am critiquing someone else’s kitchen layout when I am not an interior designer (ugh, there’s that clunky analogy again) so allow me to turn the question on myself and wonder what is a government-sponsored obligation on me that an outsider would find curious.
I offer up registering for the Selective Service. You?