The flag of Uzbekistan is designed with three bands of blue, white, and green respectively from the top. The middle white band is divided from the upper and bottom band by a thin red strip on either side. Towards the left of the blue band is a white depiction of a crescent moon with twelve white stars next to the moon. The stars are arranged in three rows. The top row has three stars, the middle one has four while the bottom row has the remaining five stars. Officially, this flag was adopted on November 18, 1991, after Uzbekistan gained its independence from the Soviet Union. The present flag, while slightly different, was partially based on the previous colonial flag.
History of the Flag of Uzbekistan
The colonial flag under Soviet rule had three colors. Two of those colors, red and blue, were adopted for the current flag’s design after independence. The difference comes in how they are used. In the colonial design, red is the dominant color with two thick red bands sandwiching a thinner blue band.
Upon independence, after the Soviet Union was disbanded, the design was chosen through a national contest. More than 200 entrants made their submissions which were evaluated by a special commission that was created for the purpose. An extraordinary seating of the Uzbek Supreme Soviet finally picked the winning design on November 18, 1991.
Symbolism of the Flag of Uzbekistan
All the colors and symbols used in the design of the flag have some sort of meaning to Uzbekistan, whether culturally, religiously, or politically. White, as is mostly the case when it is used, is for purity and peace. The blue used in the top band is representative of the sky and water. Historically, blue was also inspired by the flag of Timur. In the 14th century, present-day Uzbekistan was governed by Timur. Unsurprisingly, green represents nature and all its bounty. For some, the green is also on the flag to recognize the dominant Muslim religion in the state. In most cases when red is used, it symbolizes blood that was shed, usually during struggles involving freedom. In the case of Uzbekistan, the red stripes stand for the life force of its citizens.
The independence and rebirth of Uzbekistan from colonial clutches is symbolized by the crescent-shaped moon on the blue stripe. Muslim, a religion practiced by almost 90% of Uzbekistan’s population, is also symbolized by the moon. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims rely on the crescent moon (“hilal”) as a signal for them to start fasting. The twelve stars next to the moon have two symbolic meanings; they represent the twelve months that are in the Islamic year as well as the twelve symbols of the zodiac.
Use of the Flag
To strengthen the national symbols, including the flag, the president of Uzbekistan, in 2010, signed into law a bill prohibiting commercial use of the flag and other national symbols. Essentially, this means that no one can use the flag for things like advertisements or promotional use. In addition, only organizations affiliated to the Uzbek government can use logos that come close to looking like national symbols.