This post was originally one of my responses to an expat challenge on Instagram. When I first saw the prompt, COUNTRY LOVE, I thought USA 🇺🇸. I appreciate my time abroad tremendously, but I love my country and there is no other place I would rather live. The U.S. is also my homeland, which makes my choice a patriotic one. This got me thinking about our comfort with our own patriotism and the patriotism of other countries.
Patriotism: national pride; love of country; devotion to one’s homeland. Different cultures express patriotism differently and to different degrees. Some are more reserved and some are judged more harshly for patriotic displays for a variety of reasons. I am speaking only of patriotism, not nationalism.
My first Christmas living in Denmark, my husband’s family brought over a box of Christmas tree 🎄 decorations filled with little Danish flag 🇩🇰 tree ornaments to hang on the tree! 😮 I was already feeling homesick and with so much Denmark around me that I was still struggling to get used to, did it have to be plastered all over our Christmas tree too? I vetoed it and my husband understood. But those little flags did more than stir up homesick feelings; they revealed differences about patriotism.
The Danes have a tradition of exhibiting Danish flags at celebrations. It’s common to pick up someone at the airport holding a Danish flag 🇩🇰, to see flags 🇩🇰 displayed at birthdays, anniversaries and graduations, and to include flag ornaments 🇩🇰 on a Christmas tree. It was explained to me as a symbol of celebration above all else; a tradition dating back to 1864 post the Battle of Dybbøl and born from a desire to use the flag in peaceful contexts only. This was a much more pervasive weaving of patriotism into daily life than what I was used to. In the USA, I’m used to seeing patriotic displays like flags at sporting events and parades, and primarily on the 4th of July.
Our nations’ histories, the world view and personal preferences all contribute to our use of patriotism in our lives.
- How is patriotism displayed in the country/countries you call home?
- How comfortable are you displaying patriotism?
The #countrylove prompt was part of the #mayonthemove2020 Instagram challenge hosted by @oregongirl_aroundtheworld and @thefrustratednester.