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Published:April 18th, 2010 11:35 EST
The Flag of Nepal

The Flag of Nepal

By Tony Graff


I was conversing with my older brother, Jim, and he mentioned I should do an essay on an aspect of Nepal. I don`t know why I agreed to it, but I felt like I had disappointed him when he asked me on Wednesday if I had it done, like he said I should have it done. So, proving that I am ever a student, I have it here, two days late. 

There is a lot a person can learn from the flag of a nation. Other words we commonly use for flag are standard, banner, and colors. This is the first declaration of who we are, and often the most prominent and recognized image of a nation. 

For the landlocked nation of Nepal, their flag has a unique set of interpretations as to their mark on the world. The flag is the only one in all the nations of the world that isn`t a quadrilateral. There`s nonconformity at its best. The nation itself is ranked among the lowest developed nations, yet has a history so rich that it beckons tourists the world over to see the beauty that is hidden between its mountain sentinels. Tourism is one of its largest industries. Eight of the world`s highest peaks call Nepal home, including Mount Everest. 
This small flag, composed of two pennons, has been given a very clear definition as to what we are supposed to see, and be reminded of, when we see the flag. Though folk traditions abound, there is no set symbology to the United States flag, though it is far more recognizable.

The red represents a fiery resolve, and in Hinduism- one of the two main religions in Nepal- reflects victory in battle. The particular shade comes from the Rhododendron, the national flower. Fencing in the great expanse of red is a deep blue shade, representing peace. I think the fact that the border is blue, rather than a different coloration scheme, is significant for this nation. To expose the brave spirit of the Nepalese people, one must break the border of peace. More of the world could benefit from this example. 

The shape of the flag is that of two right triangles, one placed on top of the other. This symbolizes not only the two main religions of Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism, but when placed to a mirror, produces a pagoda, reflecting a high level of spirituality in the nation. The high mountain peaks of the Himalayas are also represented in the shape of the flag. 

Inside the two triangles, we find representations of the sun and the moon, which until 2008, bore human faces. These celestial bodies have a whole variety of meanings by themselves, but in manifesting the essence of a nation, the first thing it shows is permanence. When showing the sun or the moon, it suggests to the viewer that this nation will last as long. The sun is an active, outgoing symbol, portraying our time to work, the greater accomplishment of the day, and holiness. Accompanying it is the moon, displaying peace, tranquility, and the balancing spirituality. Both together are as clear in showing balance as the frequently used yin-yang symbol. The faces the sun and moon bore were abolished in a movement to modernize the flag.

This flag, like any nation`s, has undergone changes. The use of two pennants has been around since ancient Hindu times, well over two thousand years ago. When it first symbolized the nation, it was separate triangles, which were then joined almost three hundred years ago. The single flag of a double pennant was ratified in 1962.
Look at a flag, and you look at the standard a nation holds itself to.