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How to fold the portuguese national flag

Last modified: 2006-07-29 by antonio martins
Keywords: folding |
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Portugal
image by Vítor Luís and António Martins, 23 Sep 2004
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Introduction

Here goes the story of how you should fold the portuguese flag to have it properly folded. First of all, unlike the US flag, the end result is not a triangle, but it’s a square containing the arms, which should give you a pretty good idea of the procedure right away.
Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 1999

There might not be a universal protocol to fold the portuguese flag, after all. The fact is that one of the handover ceremonies in Macao consisted of the exit of the Governor from his official residence and consequent lowering of the flag. This was also a military ceremony, but the flag was folded differently. In this image you can see Gen. Rocha Vieira holding a folded portuguese flag. The early stages of the folding aren’t apparent from the final result but it’s obvious that the last parts that were folded were the upper and lower edges of the flag. This is in total contradiction to what I saw in the tranfer ceremony. So the only conclusion I can get to is that apparently there is no universally accepted protocol to fold the portuguese flag, after all. Anyway, the images bellow stand as one of the possible used ways to fold the flag.
Jorge Candeias, 21 Dec 1999


1st stage

flag folding 1
image by Jorge Candeias and António Martins, 19 Dec 1999

To do everything properly you need 4 people, one guy for each side of the flag. They start by opening the flag horizontally with the obverse facing down. Then they fold the upper third of the flag’s height…
Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 1999


2st stage

flag folding 2
image by Jorge Candeias and António Martins, 19 Dec 1999

and the lower third of the flag’s height. A side note to say that this may be the other way around — I didn’t take a good look at it.
Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 1999


3rd stage

flag folding 3
image by Jorge Candeias and António Martins, 19 Dec 1999

In any case, the next step it to unite the hoist to the fly, folding the flag in half the length.
Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 1999


4th stage

flag folding 4
image by Jorge Candeias and António Martins, 19 Dec 1999

Finally, a tricky deed. You see, if you fold the flag again in half, the shield stays off-centered in the final result (1/3 is not equal to 3/8, only close). This doesn’t seem to happen, so a small fold in the hoist must happen before that “halfing”. I saw the soldiers folding the sleeve, but I couldn’t see if a part of the flag itself was folded together with it. It has to be done, but I don’t know exactly how.
Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 1999


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