Manuel Belgrano

Manuel Belgrano (taken from revisionistas.com.ar)

Día de la Bandera

National Flag day in Argentina is commemorated on June 20th. The flag was first hoisted on two artillery batteries in opposite banks of the Paraná River on February 27th 1812, during the Argentina War of Independence. The date, however, was set on the day Manuel Belgrano -economist, lawyer, politician, military leader and flag creator- died, in 1820. The legend is that Belgrano got inspired by the sky and clouds to come up with the flag colors, and the sun in the middle of the flag was added later on in 1918. The sun is called the Sun of May, which was a replica of an engraving on the first Argentine coin.

Aerial of the National Flag Memorial

National Flag Memorial aerial photo (taken from http://www.rosarionoticias.gob.ar)

On that place -where the flag was pledged to for the first time- now stands National Flag Memorial, a monumental complex inaugurated on June 20th, 1953, the Día de la Bandera. With a total area of about 2.5 acres, the complex has 3 main parts. The Tower, 230 feet tall, representing the May Revolution in 1810 -housing Manuel Belgrano’s crypt in the base- the Civic Courtyard, symbolizing the efforts to organize the State and the Triumphal Propylaeum, representing an organised Nation after the 1853 Constitution. It’s the main attraction of the city of Rosario, Santa Fe.

National Flag Memorial, Día de la Bandera

National Flag Memorial (taken from wikipedia.org)

Belgrano's Flag

First flag design (taken from wikipedia.org)

The original Belgrano Flag had the colors inverted, two white stripes and one light-blue one between them. It was not until 1916, the current design that we honor at Día de la Bandera was used. Even thought national culture says otherwise, many historians agree that the colors were chosen as a sign of loyalty towards the House of Bourbon. At that point, King Ferdinand VII of Bourbon, King of Spain, was a prisoner of Napoleon Bonaparte. This was said to be both, an independence statement and a way to keep good relations with the captive Spanish King.

Belgrano and his soldiers

Belgrano and his soldiers pledging allegiance to the flag for the first time (taken from taringa.net)

The Argentine Flag was the model for the flag of the United Provinces of Central America, which would later become the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. All of them but Costa Rica keep the same model of the flag until the present day.

Just like many other holidays banks and governmental agencies are closed as well as many businesses and stores. The holiday is mostly celebrated in Rosario, the location of where the flag was first raised. Celebrations happen throughout the country on this day to honour the Día de la Bandera. You will see that many people will be honouring this day by wearing little Argentine flags on their jackets/sweater/shirts/etc.

Fun Fact: Manuel Belgrano, the creator of the Argentine flag the one commemorated during Día de la Bandera, is the face of the 10 Argentina bill.