What Do Flags Mean and Why Are They Used?

what do flags mean
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Flags have been one of life’s most vocal proponents of freedom, hope, danger, safety, or control. In the context of today, flags are best used as national symbols serving as a declaration that tells the world a country’s history, present, and future.

In general, a flag is a piece of cloth with a special pattern or design, used for signaling or as a symbol. Flags may use multiple colors, designs, or universal signs to communicate a concept of complex theory. Here are some universal uses of flags.

  1. A red flag is used to order an immediate pause or a full stop;
  2. A white flag on the battleground is a symbol of peace or surrender: This dates back to the Roman Empire as early as AD 109.
  3. A green flag on a construction site or road signals clear passage or ‘Go’;

Importance of Colors in Flag

what do flags mean

Although most countries assign different meanings to the colors used in their flag designs, there seems to be a universal meaning. This common definition and symbolism has been carried silently through history and passed down through our traditions and customs.  The examples below are universally accepted.

  • White signifies purity and innocence – USA, India
  • Red represents hardiness, valor, and courage – Spain
  • Blue embodies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Some flags do not follow the traditional color profiling. Instead, their colors are used based on unique references to national symbols. Two common examples are France and the United Kingdom.

The French flag is made up of red, white, and blue. The White represents the king while the red and blue signifies the capital city of Paris.

The UK flag is decorated with the colors of its popular patrons. The Red Cross of ST. George (Patron Saint of England), the Cross of St. Patrick (Patron Saint of Ireland). and the saltire of  St. Andrew  (Patron Saint of Wales).

The Voice of  Flags

Flags may be used to send messages to the world. Sometimes a country may fly its flag at half mast during national mourning.  It may also show solidarity with other states or countries.

Another common use of flags is to fly them upside down. This signals a distress call to the world and is used only when a country is in dire straits or threatened with disaster.



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