Friday, 25 March 2011

On flags

Red is one of the most common colors used on national flags. The use of red has similar connotations from country to country: the blood, sacrifice, and courage of those who defended their country; the sun and the hope and warmth it brings; and the sacrifice of Christ's blood (in some historically Christian nations) are a few examples. Red is the color of the flags of several countries which once belonged to the former British Empire. The British flag bears the colors red, white and blue; it includes the cross of Saint George, patron saint of England, and the saltire of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, both of which are red on white.[63] The United States flag bears the colors of Britain,[64] the colors of the French tricolore include red as part of the old Paris coat of arms, and other countries' flags, such as those of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, carry a small inset of the British flag in memory of their ties to that country.[65] Former colonies of Spain, such as Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, also feature red, one of the colors of the Spanish flag, on their own banners. Red flags are also used to symbolize storms, bad water conditions, and many other things. Navy flags are often Red and Yellow.

Red symbolizes the flag of Nepal. This color represents the floral emblem of Nepal, the rhododendron.

Red, blue and white are also the Pan-Slavic colors adopted by the Slavic solidarity movement of the late nineteenth century. Initially these were the colors of the Russian flag; as the Slavic movement grew, they were adopted by other Slavic peoples including Slovaks, Slovenes and Serbs. The flags of the Czech Republic and Poland, which contain red use it for historic heraldic reasons (see Coat of arms of Poland and Coat of arms of the Czech Republic), not due to Pan-Slavic connotations.

Red, white, and black are the colors of Pan-Arabism, and are used by many Arab countries.[66]

Red, gold, green and black are the colors of Pan-Africanism. Several African countries thus use the color on their flags, including South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia, Togo, Guinea, Benin, and Zimbabwe. The Pan-African colors are borrowed from the flag of Ethiopia, one of the oldest independent African countries.[66][67] Rwanda, notably, removed red from its flag after the Rwandan Genocide, because Pan-Africanism was so strongly associated with the event and because of red's association with blood.[68]

For other reasons, the flag of Japan has a red circle in the middle while the flag of the Philippines has a red trapezoid on the bottom and the flag of Singapore has a red rectangle on the top.

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