Ceremonial flag and oath

The opening of the Commonwealth Games is symbolised by the raising of the ceremonial flag and the competitors' oath.

Commonwealth Games ceremonial flag

Photo shows a selection of Commonwealth flags

The first ceremonial flag was presented by the British Empire Games Association of Canada after the first Games in Hamilton in 1930.

A new ceremonial flag was presented by the British Empire and Commonwealth Games Association of Canada for use at the Games in Vancouver in 1954. This incorporated the symbol of the Games on a white background.

With the change of name in 1966 to British Commonwealth Games the former flags were no longer appropriate. Subsequently the British Commonwealth Games Association of Canada presented a new flag bearing the symbol of the crown encircled by a continuous chain of 35 links representing the number of countries taking part, with the letters 'BCG' in gold on a solid dark blue field.

The ceremonial flags of the period 1954-66 and from 1970 on were presented to the Chairman of the British Commonwealth Games Federation by Colonel Jack Davies, President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada.

The ceremonial flag is hoisted at the opening of the Games, and flies continuously night and day during the period of the Games until it is lowered at the closing ceremony. It is then handed to the Chief Citizen of the host city for safe-keeping until it is sent by him four years later to the Chief Citizen of the next host city to stage the Games.

The competitors' oath

After the ceremonial flag has been raised an oath is taken on behalf of all the competitors at the opening ceremony of each games. The oath is:

We declare that we will take part in the Commonwealth Games of (year) in the spirit of true sportsmanship recognising the rules which govern them and desirous of participating in them for the honour of our Commonwealth and for the glory of sport.