The Gaelic Flag of Cape Breton


Traveling around Cape Breton Nova Scotia you just might a blue flag with a white design on it flying.  It is the Blue Gaelic Community Flag and it was approved by the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia and has started to appear on all sorts of items.

There is a resurgence of learning Gaelic in Nova Scotia and I believe I heard that Gaelic is now being offered in schools in Cape Breton starting in the 4th grade!

The symbolism of the flag gives honor to the tradition of Nova Scotia. The Gaelic symbol is a salmon in the shape of the letter G. The salmon is for the gift of knowledge in the Gaelic traditions of Nova Scotia, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The G is for the Gaelic language. The ripples are for the manifestations of the language through song, story, music, dance, and custom and belief system.

That salmon is important to the Gaels goes way back to the legend of Fionn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge.

As a young man, Fionn was sent to study under the wise man Finegas who lived by the river. Now Finegas had been watching for the Salmon of Knowledge for seven years, but after Fionn joined him as a disciple, the salmon was soon caught. Finegas gave it to Fionn to cook, warning him to eat none of it. As Fionn turned the fish on the fire, he burned his thumb and quickly put his thumb in his mouth to soothe the pain. When Finegas saw Fionn coming with the cooked fish, he knew that something had happened, for Fionn had a special look about him. Finegas questioned him and learned about the burned thumb. He realized that it was Fionn who was destined to eat of the Salmon of Knowledge, not himself. Then he said to the lad who stood by obideiently, “Take the salmon and eat it, Fionn, son of Cumhal, for to you the prophecy is come.” Fionn ate the salmon and became the wisest and bravest of men, with the gift of seeing into the past and into the future.

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