In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. Although first declared by former President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, the date was not officially marked as Flag Day by Congress until 1949. With the exception of Pennsylvania, Flag Day is not a national or state holiday, but it can serve not only as a time to celebrate our country but to learn about other nations and what their flags represent.
Most Americans know that the 13 red and white stripes of the Star-Spangled Banner represent the original British colonies that eventually declared independence from England in 1776. However, fewer people know that the national flag of Liberia, a small country on the coast of West Africa, bears more than a passing resemblance to the American flag.
The Liberian flag features a blue square in the upper left hand corner with a single white star, as well as red and white horizontal stripes. However, the Liberian flag only has 11 of these stripes, compared to the 13 seen on the American flag. The similarities between the two flags stem from Liberia's connection to the United States; American abolitionists and slaveholders began sending freed slaves in 1820 to form a colony in what is now Liberia.
The stripes represent the 11 signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence, which was signed in 1847, and the blue square containing a single white star symbolizes the African mainland.
The Indian flag is more commonly known as the Tiranga. The flag features three thick horizontal stripes: one orange, one white and one green. In the center of the white stripe is an emblem known as the Ashoka Chakra, which literally translates to "Wheel of Law." This design, which is colored blue on the Tiranga, has 24 spokes, each representing aspects of the eternal cycle of progress and righteousness in the Buddhist faith.
The Tiranga is a potent symbol of Indian ideals and gained further cultural significance in 1947, when the British government formally renounced ownership of the Indian subcontinent and the country gained its independence. The three colors of the Tiranga represent faith (orange); peace, truth and unity (white); and the majesty of the sky and ocean (blue).
The history of a country's flag is a great way to learn about a nation's past, cultural ideals and beliefs. This Flag Day, why not check out ChildFund's Facebook page and Twitter feed to share flag trivia and discover another side to countries around the world?