Bandeira de Portugal

Discover fascinating facts about the national flag of the Portuguese republic

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine October 2015


  • The design of the Portuguese flag as we know it was officially adopted on June 30 of 1911, less than a year after the downfall of the constitutional monarchy.
  • The new field colours of the bandeira de Portugal, especially the green, weren’t traditional. They broke the bond with former religious monarchical flags, which were blue and white, and represented a radical republican-inspired change.

Symbolism – Green for hope

  • Found on the flag are an armillary sphere, an important astronomical and navigational instrument for Portuguese sailors who went off discovering the unknown seas, and the Portuguese shield. The shield is one of Portugal’s oldest symbols; the five small blue shields allegedly represent five defeated Moorish kings and the castles stand for captured enemy fortresses.
  • Also the colours of the flag have a meaning. Red represents the blood of those who died serving the nation, while green stands for the hope of the Portuguese nation.

Folding instructions:

  • Folding a flag, how hard can it be? Well, you might be surprised. To properly fold the national flag, for example during formal occasions, four people are required. They each hold one of the sides and begin the procedure with the flag held in a horizontal plane with the obverse facing down.
  • From there, it’s a sequence in four different stages until the result is a square limiting the national shield. (Basically it comes down to folding in in three equal parts horizontally and then some more wrapping until all is left is the shield).


  • Whatever you do, don’t disrespect the flag! According to an official order from 1910 “any person who, through speech, published writings or any other public act, shows lack of respect to the national flag, which is the motherland’s symbol, will be sentenced to a three to twelve-month prison term.”
  • People who already had this punishment and still didn’t show the flag enough respect, would be sentenced to exile. Current rules are a bit less harsh. Nowadays you’ll probably get away with just a fine.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine October 2015

Posted in Typical Portugal.

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