Monday, 7 May 2012

Brazil Flag to Feature in 2014 World Cup Mascot?

With the preparations for the Soccer World Cup 2014 in Brazil getting underway, the process of choosing the mascot for the competition is also just starting. There have been many takes on the idea of a mascot in World Cup history, but traditionally, a country’s flag has usually formed part of the design, whether it’s just using the colours (like with South Africa 2010’s Zakumi leopard mascot) or actually using the flag as an intrinsic part of the design – such as the ‘Ciao’ stick figure from Italy ’94.

In fact, the first ever World Cup mascot was “World Cup Willie” from the 1966 World Cup in England. Although it now looks rather dated, the whole mascot idea was commended at the time and very popular. “Willie” was a lion kicking a football and wearing a football jersey featuring the Union Jack. This did cause some controversy at the time, since the Union Jack is, strictly speaking, the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, whereas the World Cup was an England-only affair. Nationalist sentiment in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was perhaps less strong than it is now but the appropriation of a UK symbol for an event that only took place in England still caused some protest.

Brazilian Flag
Brazilian Flag

Brazil certainly won’t have that problem, and the national flag is the subject of deep affection within Brazil. In fact, one of the major holidays in Brazil is the national Flag Day on November 19th, where Brazilians gather all over the country to pay homage to the flag, sing the flag anthem, and dispose with due ceremony of flags that are no longer in fit condition to be used.

The various ideas mooted so far for the Brazil World Cup 2014 mascot are a macaw, a jaguar, or a saci, which is a popular character in Brazilian folklore. It would seem to be easy enough to incorporate the flag (or at least its colours) into the macaw or the jaguar, but the saci might be a little trickier. Originally a representation of an indigenous deity, the saci is popular today especially among black Brazilians. The one-legged youngster smokes a pipe and wears a magical red cap which allows him to disappear and reappear whenever and wherever he likes. It would certainly be more imaginative than most mascots, but it’s certainly not clear where the Brazil Flag would fit in!

The 2014 World Cup promises to be one long holiday in Brazil, and the mascot usually forms such a central part of the festivities that we’re sure there will be plenty of great designs entering the contest. Let’s just hope that Brazil’s unique flag also gets in on the act!

Dan Clarke works for Real Brazil Holidays, a specialist provider of holidays in Brazil, and he’s hugely looking forward to visiting Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Brief Overview of the New Zealand Flag

A brief overview of the New Zealand flag and what makes it special.

Flag History - New Zealand

A country’s flag signifies the struggles the country has overcome, it identifies the strengths of the country and it creates a symbol to unify its people.  When traveling to a foreign country, such as when you plan a New Zealand Vacation, it is helpful to learn about the history of the country’s flag.  This will provide you with an understanding of what the people of the country you are visiting value.

New Zealand Flag

New Zealand Flag Design

The New Zealand flag design was influenced by the country’s early connection to Great Britain.  It is because of this that the New Zealand flag has similar colors and design features, such as the navy blue background and the Union Jack emblem that is the foundation of the national flag of Great Britain.  What makes the New Zealand flag unique, however, is that the Union Jack is offset to the upper left corner of the flag leaving three quarters of the flag for new design elements. Within the remaining 75% of the flag’s design space is a navy blue background which is intended to symbolize both sky and water, two elements that are plentiful in this country.  Also found on the right half of the flag is a representation of the Southern Cross, a constellation that played an important role in the seafarer tradition of this country.

Proper Respect of the New Zealand Flag

Like other national flags, New Zealand demands that their flag be treated with respect, as it represents the integrity of its people.  This flag is flown on a daily basis and it is a centerpiece for special celebrations and events, such as Anzac Day.  The New Zealand flag is a national and cultural treasure and it is present in both cultural and secular celebrations.

When dealing with the treatment of the New Zealand flag it is important to remember not to abuse it.  It is offensive to destroy, deface or defame the New Zealand flag in public.  Doing this can get you into serious hot water with locals and with local authorities, so be respectful.

New Controversy

While the people of New Zealand have a strong attachment to their national flag, recent debates have raged over whether a new flag design should be adopted.  This debate was spawned by concerns related to how similar the New Zealand flag is to the Australian flag, to the presence of the Union Jack on the flag (a sign of British colonial occupation) and to the omission of Maori representation in the design.  It is not clear how this debate will be resolved, but to the flag’s design are possible in the future.

Madeline Binder was fortunate enough to spend a great family vacation in New Zealand. Her experiences on this trip changed her life forever, and as a result she has spent a lot of time helping other people to see the value in traveling to this country. New Zealand is an ideal country to visit for a lengthy vacation and is also increasing in popularity as a destination for wedding parties.