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Croatia: Folding the national flag

Last modified: 2011-08-20 by ivan sache
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Folding procedure

During the funeral of the former President of the Republic Tuđman, the procedure for folding of the Croatian flag was implemented. To the best of my knowledge, this procedure is followed only in the most solemn occasions; the only other occasion it was done that I am aware of is the funeral of the Minister of Defence Susak, last year. I guess that the custom is, more or less "imported" from US; the folded flag is given to the nearest of kin (Tuđman's wife, Susak's youngest grandson). I describe the procedure, viewed from top, as best I have managed to gather it.

[Folding the flag]

The flag is taken down from the flag pole followed by the tunes of the national anthem. As the flag is lowered so that it is within the reach of man, the two of the flag guard prevents it from touching the ground, and as it is lowered more, they give the fly end further "backwards" to next two guards. There are eight flag guards altogether. When the entire flag is lowered, and detached from the halyard, it is held horizontally, with obverse on the top, four guards holding it along each long edge.

[Folding the flag]     [Folding the flag]     [Folding the flag]

The folding starts with the upper third of flag (red stripe) being folded over the white stripe, followed by folding the blue stripe over it. The hoist and fly edges are then simultaneously folded in triangle by the outermost two pair of guards, showing two white triangles.

[Folding the flag]     [Folding the flag]     [Folding the flag]

The white triangles are repeatedly folded three more times.
After the second fold of this three, the outermost pair of guards leaves the flag, and step backwards, leaving the inner four guards to finish it. The last fold of those three results in a white lozenge with parts of the checky shield showing on top.

[Folding the flag]     [Folding the flag]

The white points are now folded over the checky center to form a square.
The crucial fold is now made along the vertical axis. It is not a simple fold now, since the "white" points from previous step are now to be "interwoven", preventing the folded flag to unfold. This is not easy to describe nor to draw, but it is fairly logical when considering a real flag. This results in a triangle with a checky pattern.

In the two observed cases, the flag measured 1.5 x 3 m, one of the standard sizes in Croatia, therefore resulting in a triangle with the long side measuring 0.5 m.

Željko Heimer (text and images), 21 December 1999