The flag of Spain was chosen by Charles III himself among 12 different flags designed by Antonio Valdes y Bazan, an officer in the Spanish Navy. The current Flag of Spain consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red. The middle stripe is yellow and is twice the size of each red stripe. Just left of center on the yellow stripe, lies Spain’s Coat of Arms. Red and yellow were selected as the colors for the flag of Spain as these are traditional Spanish colors. The Coat of Arms has a meaning all its own. There is a crowned shield which is guarded by the Pillars of Hercules, which are meant to symbolize Gibraltar and Ceuta. Each quarter of the shield has a badge that represents the original kingdoms. The shield also contains the emblem of the House of Bourbon. A pomegranate at the bottom of the shield represents Grenada, and the pillars feature a red scroll with the motto: “There is more beyond,” written on it, which alludes to Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. The flag was promulgated by the Constitution of 1978 and officially adopted on December 19, 1981.
There is a legend about the flag of Spain that exists. Spain is known for bull activities such as the running of the bulls and bullfighting, so the legend goes along with these activities: Legend has it that the red on the flag stands for the bloodshed of bulls and matadors, and the yellow stands for the sand arena. Although this legend is a little more gruesome than the historical tale of the flag, many citizens and tourists tell the false story.
Official protocol for the Spanish flag’s display dictates that it can only by flown horizontally from public buildings, private homes, businesses, ships and town squares. It can also be flown during official ceremonies. It should be flown from sunrise to sunset. If it is flown at night, it must be properly lit. Government offices in Spain and abroad must fly the flag on a 24-hour basis, and the flags may not be soiled or damaged. If the Spanish flag is unfurled around other flags, it must not be smaller than the other flags and must be flown in an honorable position.