Why does a country have flag and what is its importance?
Flags have existed as symbols since some thousands of years ago. It is a form of identification and communication of a nation that conveys the ideas, ambitions, and values of a country or organization. Being the national symbol country flag is a necessity to own. Thus every country has got a specific national flag that holds unique importance and meaning. It was in the 18th century when the very first flags were flown to proclaim the possession over a piece of land and also to proclaim sovereignty.
The Flags of the world hold much significance in the souls and hearts of citizens of the country as it was evocative of the country’s struggle for over decades against some of the other oppressions and simultaneously is a symbol of the political, military and economic strength of a country. Every country flag is the pride of the nation and the symbol of unity, freedom, and self-governance. Initially, the flags were the wooden poles with carvings and later were replaced with decorative fabric which is now recognized as one of the main objects in the National flag.
The colors and symbols featured in the flags of all countries propagate a specific philosophical, historical or any other specific meaning that holds greater value for the nation. Thus, one must be utmost careful while raising and lowering down the national flag because it is considered to be a great disrespect to the nation. The defense personnel or the individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the country’s progress or have made selfless sacrifices own the honor to get national flag draped over their coffin and undoubtedly it is the highest of the honors.
Universal Symbols used in flags of the world
While you have had a look over the flags of all countries you might have come across varied symbols used in the flag designs. This is because all cultures across the world use certain universal symbols that hold some specific meaning for the nation. Let us have a look at some of the common symbols across the world and what do they signify.
Sun: The circle of the sun used in the flag design is a symbol of power, unity, and integrity. For example the flag of Japan and the Flag of Argentina make use of this powerful symbol.
Moon: The moon often displayed in crescent shape along with stars in the flags symbolizes divinity and in particular, represents Islam. For example Flag of Turkey, Flag of Singapore, Flag of Pakistan
Stars: Constellations of stars used in country flags usually represent energy, particularly when they showcase either the night sky or the star constellation. For example Flag of U.S.A., Flag of Australia, Flag of Brazil, etc.
Cross: Earlier cross merely represented as the different point of the compass, however later cross also came to be recognized as the symbol of faith. For example Flag of Sweden, Flag of Norway, Flag of Switzerland, etc.
Triangle: In Christianity, the three corners of the triangle represent the trinity i.e. father, son and the holy spirit. However, the triangle in the flag is used as a symbol of power and strength. For example Flag of Bahamas, Flag of Eritrea and others.
Square: The four equal lengths of the square signify balance and also the equal opposites. For example Swiss Flag is the only square flag.
The flags of the countries across the world are usually rectangular or square in shape. The Flag of Nepal is the only flag in the world which is neither rectangular nor square shaped. Apart from these, there are many other symbols used in the world flags. For example The Flag of Canada uses maple leaf symbolizing nature and environment and the flag of India uses a navy blue circle with 24 spokes that symbolize the Ashoka Chakra.
Color Symbolism in Flags of the World
Colors in the world flags differ from one country to the other and from one state to another state; Each color used in the flags hold deep meaning and are a unique representation. Colors may have diverse meanings in different cultures.
Majority of the world flags feature the primary colors that are inclusive of blue, red, green and also few countries make use of the yellow or other secondary colors. Some of the flags of the world also use gold color as it is related to the sun and is also identified as the color of the king. Here is the symbolism of some of the basic colors used in the flags:
Black: Generally used for representing ethnic heritage, determination and the defeat of enemies. It may also be used to represent mourning.
White: It is considered as a symbol of peace, harmony, and purity, and has been used to signify surrender at the times of war or battle.
Red: It is a fierce color that stands for power, vibrancy, revolution, and was often used as a symbol of bloodshed. Other symbolic meanings of red include domination and courage and while it can also be seen as an alert during danger.
Blue: Symbolizes liberation, determination, alertness, and good fortune.
Green: It is greatly recognized as the symbol of agricultural influence, fertility, and prosperity. Sometimes it is also viewed as hope and youthfulness.
Yellow (or Gold): It is considered to be a symbol of wealth and energy, just like the sun. It also represents happiness.
Orange: Orange color symbolizes sacrifice, selflessness, and courage.
There are 7 continents in the world namely- Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Australia or Oceania and Antarctica that collectively comprise of nearly 200 countries each having its own distinctive flag with distinguished design and unique significance and symbolism.