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Symbols of the City of Boston

Symbols of the City of Boston

Learn about the symbols of Boston, and how we display them.

The City Flag

The City flag is a Continental blue and buff. The flag is five-feet long and three-and-a-half-feet wide, or within that ratio. The center of the flag features the City seal surrounded by two white rings.

The municipal standard flag features an image of the Trimountain on the back and a fringe of Continental buff. The City flag has no image on the back and no fringe. The image on the City flag is either painted on or woven into the fabric. The flag fabric is silk.

The City Seal

The City Seal was adopted in 1823. The first image of the seal was published in 1827. It became the official seal in 1914. It's a circular image that features:

  • a view of the City of Boston
  • the motto, “SICUT PATRIBUS, SIT DEUS NOBIS” (which means, “God be with us as he was with our fathers”), and
  • the inscription, “BOSTONIA CONDITA AD. 1630 CIVITATIS REGIMINE DONATA AD. 1822.”
Still have questions? Contact:
Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment
1 City Hall Square
Room 802
Boston, MA 02201-2029
United States

Displaying the City flag

The City can display or carry the flag at official occasions when the mayor is present. The flag is flown at City Hall and at the Boston Common along with the national flag. Boston groups may have copies of the flag if they get the mayor’s approval.

No one can use the flag or a reproduction of it for commercial reasons. The flag can’t be used for advertising or in connection with ads. You must get permission from the mayor to use the flag for any purpose other than the ones mentioned.

Anyone who violates the rules will be charged $20 for each offense. Community groups may ask permission to fly their country's flag on days of remembrance.

United States flag

We display the United States flag at Boston City Hall every day except Sunday, or days when the weather is bad. We display the flag on other public buildings on:

  • Franklin's Birthday, January 17
  • Lincoln's Birthday, February 12
  • Washington's Birthday, February 22
  • Evacuation Day, March 17
  • Patriots' Day, April 19
  • Grant's Birthday, April 27
  • Memorial Day, May 30
  • Flag Day, June 14
  • Bunker Hill Day, June 17
  • Independence Day, July 4
  • Labor Day, first Monday in September
  • Boston's Settlement Anniversary, September 17
  • Columbus Day, October 12
  • Veterans' Day, November 11, and
  • any other day the Mayor or City Council orders it.

If a flag day falls on a Sunday, we'll display the flag on the following Monday. We’ll also fly the flags at Boston City Hall at half staff if the president or governor orders it.