festivals and traditions

Trooping the Colour

Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II has two birthdays? 😉

Of course this does not mean that she was born on two different days…but only that while she was actually born on April 21st, according to a British tradition the Sovereign has an official birthday, which is held every year in London on the second Saturday in the month of June.

On this day a ceremony is held that involves the regiments of the Commonwealth and of the British Army and which dates back to the 17th century.

It has a very peculiar name: “Trooping the Colour“.

Second Saturday in June… hey, guess what they’re doing in London today? 🙂

The word colour refers to the flag of a regiment, and each regiment has its own colour, or ensign, which represents not only the spirit of that regiment, but also its dead soldiers. If a colour was lost on the battlefield it was considered the worst shame of all, while if the enemy’s colour was won,this was a sign of glory.

It was vital in the past that soldiers could recognize their regiment colours during battles, and the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which in the past was always performed before and after a battle, consists in  “marching” (“trooping”), the ensigns (the “colours”) of each regiment slowly through the ranks of soldiers, so that every man could see the ensigns of his battalion and remember them well while in battle.

The Queen attends the ceremony every year.

HERE! is a  link to a website that contains lots of interesting information and videos about this ceremony.


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