On Nov 30 the world celebrates Scotland’s National Day otherwise known as St Andrew’s Day.
As Scotland slowly became a nation, it needed a national symbol around which to rally and unit and Saint Andrew was an inspired choice.
Although the national flag of Scotland is the blue and white 'Saltire', the Scottish people also have a second, very different, flag which is called the 'Lion Rampant'.
The 'Lion Flag' is often considered the unofficial national flag and referred to as the 'Royal Flag of Scotland'. The 'Royal' term applies because this flag historically, and legally, belongs to the monarchy, but more specifically to a King or Queen of Scotland.
Because there has not been a Scottish King or Queen since the 1600’s, it now belongs to Queen Elizabeth II. It is a more colourful and dramatic flag than the Saltire, and thus more memorable.
The term 'lion rampant' actually refers to the positioning or attitude of the lion. A rampant lion is shown as a profile of a lion standing upright on one or both hind legs and the forelegs are raised, claws unsheathed, as if to strike.
Officially and historically the 'Lion' Flag is only allowed to be flown by a monarch, and today it is traditionally flown at royal residences when the Queen is NOT in residence. There are also other officials, such as the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Lord Lyon King of Arms and the Royal Regiment of Scotland, who are allowed to fly this flag. According to an Act of Parliament, passed in 1672, it is an offense for any private citizen or corporate body to fly or wave this flag. Unofficially though, it is often thought of as the 'Second National Flag of Scotland' and you will generally see many of them in the hands of sports fans at national and international football and rugby games. Although this is technically illegal, but there does not seem to be any official objections to these displays of patriotism because King George V gave permission for Lion Rampant flags to be waved by the public during his Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1935. Also pieces made in Scotland from sterling silver are marked with the ‘Lion Rampant’ as opposed to the ‘Lion Passant’ on pieces made in England.
However if anyone wants to fly one from a flagpole or building they do still need to get special permission, but for many Scots the fierce and battle-strewn history of Scotland makes the Lion Rampant flag the perfect symbol of Scottish pride.