There are 193 sovereign states that are recognized by the United Nations. Each state has its own government, constitution, and national symbol. Countries can have flags with similar colors but different arrangements or symbols. Other countries such as Indonesia and Monaco have similar flags but with different width-length ratio. Of the 193 sovereign flags, 190 are rectangular; three are non-rectangular. Nepal, Vatican City, and Switzerland are the only three countries that defied the norm of the rectangular flag.
The official flag of Nepal is the only non-quadrilateral flag in the world. The flags take the shape of two triangular pennants. It has a crimson red background with blue edges. The upper pennant has a stylized white moon at the center while the lower pennant has a white twelve-pointed sun. The flag was adopted on December 16, 1962, and resembles the flag used in the 19th and 20th centuries. The colors and design of the flag are described in the Nepalese constitution. The crimson red color represents the bravery of the Nepalese people while the blue color represents peace and harmony. The flags triangular shape represents the country’s relation with the Himalayas. The celestial bodies symbolize the sovereignty and permanence of the country just like the sun and the moon. The moon also represents the purity of spirit and the calm demeanor of the people.
The flag of Switzerland is a square shaped. It consists of a white cross on a red background. It is one of the only two square-shaped sovereign flags in the world, the other being the flag of Vatican City. The flag was adopted in December 1889. The national flag is sometimes confused with the flag (red cross on a white background) of the International Red Cross which is headquartered in the country’s capital. The citizenry is allowed to flag the flag in private and commercial buildings throughout the year. The “Swissness” fashion of the 21st century has integrated the flag in most of its designs. It is uncommon to meet people in Switzerland wearing clothes with the national flag. It is unlawful to remove, destroy, or desecrate the flag that has been installed by the government or the local authority but people are allowed to privately destroy private flags.
1. Vatican City
On February 11, 1929, Pope Pius XI and the Kingdom of Italy signed the Treaty of Lateran. The treaty officially established the state of Vatican City that would be governed by the Holy See. On June 7, 1929, the Vatican adopted a new flag as is required of every new state. The flag of the Vatican is one of the two square-shaped flags in the world. It consists of a yellow/gold band on the hoist side, and a white band on the fly side. The Papal Tiara and the crossed golden and silver keys of Saint Peter lie at the center of the white band. The keys as considered the Key of Heaven as proclaimed by the Gospel of Matthew 16:19. The gold key symbolize spiritual power while the silver symbolizes earthly power.