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Corso Italo : Corso Italo 11 : Flung Flags

Others join in the melée. Arranged in formation, synchronised to the beat of the drums, each man rocks back on his heel to draw the furled flag and throw it up to 30 metres into the air where the flags hang together, suspended for a glorious moment before plummeting to the ground to be caught just in time before hitting the dirt. Again and again the aerial ballet dazzles and delights, each man throwing, leaping and catching in an agile, athletic display. The tradition of flag throwing is thought to have arisen from medieval battle, the ensign carrier being one of the most important soldiers on the field of battle, carrier of the symbol of the army, expected to defend the flag with his life and rally the troops to its colours. In the event of his being overcome, he would throw the flag to a comrade and so began the practice of hurling the banner high in the sky to land safely in the hands of another.

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