Symbols, Traditions and Ceremonies

Scouting has a number of traditions, symbols and ceremonies that make it unique to the movement. Some of the more regular symbols you will see are:


This symbolises you as a member of the Scouting movement and every Scout member all around the world wears a scarf.

Scout sign / three finger salute

This represents the global principles of Scouting: Duty to our God, Duty of Others and Duty to Self. The Scout sign is used when making the Promise and at investitures and when saluting the flag. The salute is a sign of respect, so can also be used in other situations.

Left handshake

This is a unique Scouting tradition from when Colonel Baden-Powell met the Ashanti people in Africa. He discovered they shake with their left hands as only the bravest will do this. It is a sign of respect to put your shield down and shake hands, rather than putting your weapon down.


Many Scouting events begin and end with recognition of the flag. This includes saluting the flag, ‘breaking’ the flag (where a rolled flag is unrolled whilst in the air) or lowering the flag from the flagpole. These are all completed as signs of respect.

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