Before becoming independent in 1917 Finland was a part of Sweden until it was incorporated into the Russian empire in 1809. The flags of these two countries were both used as flags of Finland.
The grand duchy of Finland had to own arms displaying a lion but the coat of arms was used as an unofficial flag and the red and yellow became the unofficial colors of Finland.
When a new flag was needed two men Ero Snellman and Bruno Tuukkanen submitted the design which was officially adopted on 27 May 1918 and two days after the first flag was issued.
The current flag of Finland has a white field with a blue Nordic cross. It is a simple design but is full of meaning to the people.
These colors have been used for centuries on many different Finnish military, provincial and town flags and ensigns officially or unofficially. The flag was readopted on 26 May 1978 and to this day is still the official national flag.
The state flag adds a red square where the two bands cross and there is a golden lion on the red. This flag is used as the state flag and ensign. The military uses this flag with a swallow tail (end of cross bar ends in a point).
The flag of the president of Finland also uses the swallow tail but in the canton, upper left, is a cross of liberty in gold and blue. All public bodies and most private citizens and corporations fly the flag on official flag days.
The flag must not be defaced and is not to be flown if it is dirty or torn. The flag of Finland must be respected as are flags of other nations when flown at the same time.
Would you like to know an interesting fact about Finlandís flag? If the flag is washed it must be dried inside, not on a line or laid across a gate or fence.