What Do the Colors and Symbols of the Flag of Armenia Mean?

By Joseph Kiprop on September 23 2019 in World Facts

The Armenian flag flying in Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia.
The Armenian flag flying in Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia.

The Republic of Armenia adopted its national flag on August 24, 1990. The Armenian National Assembly passed a law governing use of the flag on June 15, 2006. The flag of Armenia was designed by Stepan Malkhasyants, an Armenian lexicographer, linguist, academician, and philologist.

Description and Symbols

The flag of Armenia is rectangular in shape and features three horizontal bands of equal thickness. The top stripe is red, the middle is blue, and the bottom is orange. The colors of the flag have various interpretations. One interpretations states that red represents the blood Armenians shed during the Armenian Genocide (1914- 1923), blue represents the pure sky in Armenia, and orange symbolizes the nation’s courage. However, according to Armenia’s constitution, red signifies the highlands of Armenia and the people’s struggle to survive and maintain the Christian faith, as well as the country’s freedom and independence, blue represents the will of Armenians to live under peaceful skies, while orange denotes the hardworking nature and creative talent of Armenian citizens. The flag has a height to length proportion ratio of 1:2

History of the Armenian Flag

There have been several flags throughout Armenia’s history. Since the establishment of Christianity, various dynasties have adopted different flags in the Armenian empire. The Artaxiad Dynasty used the first flag between 189 BC and 1AD, comprising of three charges, and two eagles separated by a flower on a red cloth. Other dynasties that had flags in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia include Rubenid Dynasty (1198-1219), the Hethumid Dynasty (1226-1341), and the Lusignan Dynasty (1341-1375). The first modern flag was adopted in 1885 after the split of Armenia between Ottoman and Persian Empires. Father Ghevont Alishan designed a flag for the Armenian Students Association of Paris. It resembled an upside-down form of the current Bulgarian flag, consisting of three horizontal bands of red, green, and white, and symbolized various Christianity themes. In 1936, the Armenian SSR adopted its first flag, which resembled the Soviet Union’s flag. In 1952, a new flag was introduced, which added a blue fess to the preceding flag's design. The use of this flag ended with the adoption of the current national flag in 1990.

Flag Protocol

According to a national law created in 2006, the Armenian Flag should fly on governmental and most public buildings. The law requires that the flag be displayed on national holidays including Independence Day (September 21), Victory and Peace Day (May 9), and International Worker’s Solidarity Day (May 1). June 15 marks the Day of the National Flag of Armenia, a celebration that started in 2010. On mourning days, the flag flies at the half-mast with a black ribbon above the flag.

Influences of the Armenian Flag

The Armenian flag influenced the flags of the Republic of Artsakh and the Pan-Armenian Games. The latter adopted the colors of the national flag of Armenia, while the former added a white-patterned chevron on the fly of the Armenian flag. Armenia’s national anthem mentions the flag in the second and third stanzas, citing its creation.

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