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Symbolic Usage of Colours in Flags

Most countries around the world have flags. The flags have different colours as well as designs. While it is easy to assume that these colours mean nothing, if you look closely, you will find that they are actually symbolic representations of the values, ideals and allegiance of those countries, among other things. The colours are also used to express religious symbolism. This is a phenomenon that is common to flags that belong to Islamic or Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya.


Colours in flags may also be used to symbolise a passionate feeling towards something, for instance a nation, organization or belief. The shapes or numbers that the flags are comprised of also have their meanings. In most cases, blue colour in the flags symbolizes ethnic heritage, determination or defeating one’s enemies. Green in the flags can symbolize agriculture, earth, fertility or a Muslim religion.

Another common colour that you will find in most flags is blue. In most cases, it is used to represent freedom, justice, perseverance, vigilance, peace, prosperity or patriotism. Red is also a common colour in flags and it is used to symbolize blood, revolution, hardiness, or valour. If you see colour white in a flag, it is most likely being used to represent peace, mountain snow, purity or innocence. It may also represent surrender.

If you look closely at the flags of the world, you will notice that some colour combinations are symbolic. For instance red, yellow or gold and green are colours that are common to many flags of African countries, for instance Cameroon, Benin, Ethiopia, Mali, Guinea, just to mention a few. They are often referred to as the Pan-African colours. Red, white, black and green is a colour combination that is common to most Arab countries such as United Arab Emirates and Syria among others. They are commonly referred to as the Pan-Arab colours.

If you look at the American flag, you will find that it is comprised of thirteen alternating horizontal stripes that are all of equal height. Seven of these stripes are red while the remaining six are white. There is a blue rectangle in the upper left corner on which there are fifty white five-pointed stars. These are not merely decorations. Every colour and symbol has meaning to it. In this case, red symbolizes hardiness and valour, white symbolizes purity and innocence while blue signifies perseverance, vigilance and justice.

The American flag in general is a symbol of national unity as well as pride for the country. The fifty stars in the blue rectangle are used to represent the fifty states. The meaning of the colours and symbols may vary from country to country. For instance, what red stands for in the American flag may not necessarily be the same thing as what that same colour symbolizes in the Ethiopian flag. You may also find different interpretations of these colours from different people based on events that happened in the past or philosophical values.

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