Flag of Nepal

The Nepal flag became official on December 16, 1962. The flag is an odd shape: it’s the only national flag in the world that is not a square or rectangle.  The left side of the flag is straight and there are two points on the right side, almost like two right triangles on top of one another.

The flag’s blue border stands for peace.  The red background of the flag is the same color as Nepal’s national flower, the rhododendron.

There are two white pictures inside the Nepal flag: one a crescent moon, representing the royal house, and the other a sun, members of the Rana family who served as prime ministers of Nepal until 1961.  Today, however, the sun and the moon are also said to symbolize the hope that Nepal will last as long as these two aspects of nature.

In the Hindu religion, however, the Nepalese flag has much deeper meaning.  Both the sun and the moon and the red and the blue colors on the flag create a balance.  The sun, a symbol of fire, provides heat necessary for life, creating nourishment for all living beings.  The sun is linked to ancient Vedic rituals, the twelve months, and the twelve zodiac signs. The moon, in turn, is the symbol of Elixir, which is believed to give eternal life.

In many religions, including Hinduism, rituals are performed with lunar cycles.  Many Hindus see the sun as the center of the planets in our solar system and the moon as the center of the asteroids; similarly, they view the sun as a symbol of the soul and the moon as a symbol of the heart.

The colors in the flag also create a balance.  The red symbolizes closeness and heat, while the blue symbolizes distance and coolness.  Red signifies fire and blood, and the blue creates balance by signifying the sky and sea.  Many Hindus think of red as a color of bravery, love, energy, and good luck, and they think of blue as a color of wisdom, peace, and calmness.

Flag of Pakistan

The flag of Pakistan was adopted on August 14, 1947, the same day that Pakistan declared its independence. It is a rectangular shape divided into two sections: one smaller vertical white section and a larger green section with a white crescent moon and star. The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah designed the flag.

The green area of the flag represents the Muslim majority and the smaller white section represents other religious minorities residing in Pakistan.  The green and white color combination also symbolizes peace and affluence.  The crescent moon signifies progress while the five-pointed star represents light and wisdom.  The flag represents Pakistan’s dedication to the Islamic faith but also the rights of religious minorities.

The flag of Pakistan is flown on five specific days throughout the year as well as on any other government order.  The flag is flown at full mast on Pakistan Day, the anniversary of the adoption of the Lahore Resolution in 1940 and the declaration of the Islamic Republic in 1956.

On April 21, the flag is flown at half-mast, marking the anniversary of the death of Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan’s national poet, in 1938.  The flag flies at full-mast on Pakistan’s Independence Day, August 14.  On September 11, the flag is flown at half-mast, marking the anniversary of the death of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and the flag’s designer.  Also commemorating Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the flag is flown at full-mast on December 25, marking the founder’s birthday.

Pakistan holds the world record for producing the largest flag.  At the Pakistan National Stadium in Karachi in August 2004, Pakistanis unveiled a 173,400 square foot national flag.

Flag of Peru

The flag of Peru was officially adopted on February 25, 1825. The flag is divided into three vertical sections: two red sections on the left and right sides and a white center section with the coat of arms in the center.  The colors of the flag were chosen by Jose de San Martin, “The Liberator,” and also symbolize the Incas and their influence on Peru’s culture.

This flag is the state flag or national ensign, and is only used by state institutions during ceremonies.  Peruvian citizens may use the national flag of Peru or civil flag, which contains only the red and white vertical stripes and does not feature the coat of arms.

The coat of arms is divided into thirds and contains pictures of a llama, a cinchona tree, and a cornucopia.  The llama is a common pack animal in Peru with deep cultural significance.  Before Incans resided in Peru, the Moche people would often offer llamas and llama body parts as offerings for the afterlife in burials of important people.  During the Incan empire, llamas served as both pack and herding animals, and they continued to be buried with the dead.  The Incan god Urcuchillay was also depicted as a multicolored llama.

The cinchona tree is native to Peru and is used for many medical remedies including treating malaria, killing parasites, relieving pain and fever, regulating heartbeat, and killing bacteria and fungi.  The cornucopia universally symbolizes abundance.

During the flag raising, Peruvians sing the Marcha de Banderas, or March of Flags, written in 1897 by Jose Salas Libornio.  The lyrics are as follows:

Long live, long live, long live Peru
and to its glorious immortal ensign
always carried aloft
the national flag.

They carry it with glory and honor,
Peruvian heroes with invincible ardor.
Up, up whenever the national flag.

This is the flag of Peru,
of white and red,
as a flame of love,
in Ayacucho and Junín
it dawned victorious with the
sun of Liberty.