What Do The Colors And Symbols Of The Mexican Flag Mean?

The flag of Mexico is a tricolor of green, white, and red, featuring the Mexican Coat of Arms.
The flag of Mexico is a tricolor of green, white, and red, featuring the Mexican Coat of Arms.

The Mexican flag is a vertical tricolor of red, white, and green with a coat of arm on the white band. The country adopted these colors during the battle for independence. The overall design of the flag was adopted in 1821, but the coat of arm was revised in 1968. Even though the length-width ratios of the flag and the coat of arms have been modified numerous times, the coat of arms has always had similar features (an eagle holding a snake). The meaning of the three colors has also been altered over time.

Design of the Mexican Flag

The current Mexican flag is a variation of the flag which Venustiano Carranza approved in 1916. The eagle on the coat of arm was changed to a side-facing position from a front facing. Before they adopted their current flag, various official flags were used by the government. These flags had three color bands and the only thing that has changed with time was the coat of arm. Mexico adopted their current flag on September 16, 1968. One of the critical reasons for the flag change was because Mexico City hosted the Summer Olympic Games of 1968. The country also legally abandoned their merchant ensign on the same year because without the coat of arm it resembled the Italian flag.

Meaning of the Colors of the Flag

Previously, the red band represented the union of Europeans and Americans, white symbolized religion, and green stood for independence. The meaning of these colors changed during the secularization of Mexico under President Juarez. Currently, the red stripe stands for the blood of their heroes who lost their lives while fighting for their independence, white means unity, and green stand for hope.

The Coat of Arms of Mexico

The Coats Of Arms represent a myth which shows how the Aztecs selected the site where they built their capital Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs were the nomadic people led by Tenoch. Legend has it that Tenoch was informed by Huitzilopochtli (their god of war) that they would settle in a place where he will find an eagle eating a snake on a prickly pear. The place where they saw the eagle was quite inhospitable, it was a swampy region which was situated in the middle of three lakes, but they built Tenochtitlan city and settled.

Differences Between the Mexican and the Italian Flag

Even though the red, white, and green tricolor of the Mexican flag has been used for a longer time than the Italian flag, a similar toned Italian banner had already been used for a short time in Europe by the time Mexico was adopting their flag. Both flags have the same color, but the flag of Mexico has darker shades of red and green. These flags have different proportions with the Mexican flag being longer shaped while the Italian has a squarish shape.

Protocol for Use of the Flag

When the Mexican flag is used in a public place, all the soldiers who are in uniform must salute it while the civilians place their right hand on their chest right in front of their heart. The hand is usually flat with the palm facing down. If the president is the head of the armed forces, then he must salute the flag. The flag must be displayed every time the national anthem is sung or played.


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