The flag of Kyrgyzstan has a red field with a yellowish sun at the center which has forty evenly spaced sun rays. The sun has three crisscrossing laths traversing a sphere which is a depiction of their traditional tent which is known as a yurt. This is the representation of the first thing anyone sees when he/she wakes up in a yurt. The country adopted their flag in 1992 just seven months after they gained their independence to replace the Soviet Socialist Republic’s flag. The red color was inspired by the banner which Manas lifted. Manas was their traditional hero who helped unite all their tribes in one state.
History of the Flag
Under the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan was the Union Republic known as Kirghizia. Kirghizia was established on December 5, 1936, and they adopted their flag in 1953. The flag of Kirghizia was the Soviet Union’s flag with two blue stripes and a white band at the center which they used until 1991. The country declared their independence on August 31, 1991, which was four months before the collapse of the Soviet Union. After gaining their independence, they continued using a different version of the flag of Kirghizia which did not have the golden hammer, bow, and star for seven months before adopting their new flag on March 3, 1992.
The symbols and colors of Kyrgyzstan’s flag carry regional, political, and cultural meanings to the locals. The red color symbolizes courage and bravery. Red was the color of the banner used by Manas, the legend of the famous Kyrgyz epic. It has been the national color of Kyrgyzstan for a long time. The sun is a symbol of wealth, peace, an eternity of existence and light. The forty rays on the sun stand for all the forty tribes which Manas united to fight the Mongols. The forty rays also represent the number of Manas’s followers.
The middle of the sun has a stylized illustration of the Tunduk (roof) on the Yurt (traditional Kyrgyz tent) when viewed from the inside. Even though the yurts are less used today, the addition of the tent on their flag stands for the unity of space and time and the origin of life. It stands for the local’s home and hearth and this includes their territory.
Proposals for the Replacement of Kyrgyzstan’s Flag
The government of Kyrgyzstan created a commission which helped examine numerous flag changing proposals a few years ago. The head of this commission observed how their flag was an object of disunity and conflict among the locals and the fact that the government of Kyrgyzstan did not want their national symbol to be a cause of division.
The people of Kyrgyzstan disagreed over the meaning of the symbols and color of their flags. For example, the country is ethnically diverse, and some of the minority groups include the Dungans and Uzbeks. Manas defeated these groups, and the idea of the country’s national emblem being associated with Manas does not sit well with them. Another source of criticism is the red field. Some individuals believe that it reminds them of their violent history while others see the color as a lingering reminder of communism.