"Flag Day" is the day that kicks off the official herring season in coastal Holland: fishing floats are decorated with strings of flags to celebrate the Hollandse Nieuwe's arrival and several coastal towns celebrate by having live music concerts, traditional arts and crafts and ofcourse, lots of fish for eating.
A herring fit for the Hollandse Nieuwe title is one that has at least 16% body fat, and is prepared following a traditional method: with a special knife, the fish's gills and entrails are removed, except for the pancreas. This organ releases enzymes that will "ripen" the fish. The fish is slightly salted and stored in a barrel for five to seven days, then sold.
Well, good! Unfortunately, here in the United States, we will miss out on the fishy fun. If you feel homesick, or just want to celebrate this day, try this pickled herring salad instead: it's quick to make and all the ingredients can be found at your local store!