Can a single piece of fabric capture the entire history or culture of a nation?
Click start to play today’s Crossword, where there are no words – just flags. Identify all the countries!
Flags are excellent communicators. When you spot a national flag, you likely know exactly which country it represents, and the subsequent values, customs and ideals that country holds. Whether the flag depicts stars and stripes (USA), a blue wheel in a tricolour of orange, white and green (India), or a red maple leaf on a white canvas (Canada), every flag has a message, and an inherent meaning to it.
Here are 5 iconic flags that share their own unique stories:
The Brazilian gold and green flag has the country’s motto etched into it: ordem e progresso (order and progress). The words are inspired by French philosopher Auguste Comte’s motto of positivism: “Love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal.” The white stars in Brazil’s flag represent the night sky over Rio de Janeiro.
The unusual shape of the Nepal flag represents the peaks of the Himalayas, while its sun and moon icons symbolise calm and resolve. The crimson red of the flag is the colour of the rhododendron, the country’s national flower, and the flag’s blue border signifies peace.
The Duke of Austria, Leopold V, who was known as Leopold the Virtuous, is credited with the design of the country’s red-and-white striped flag in 1230. The story goes that upon returning from war, his white battledress was soaked with blood. But when he removed his belt, the cloth underneath was still white!
The red circle in the Bangladeshi flag is slightly offset, so that it appears centred when flying on a mast. The green of the flag represents the lushness of the country, and the colour red symbolises the blood of those who died for independence. The fact that the red is a disc is a representation of the Bengal sun, and symbolises the nation's hopes for its future.
Following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, a new national South African flag was commissioned. The black, green and yellow are colours acquired from Mandela’s African National Congress banner, while the red, white and blue are from the old Flag of Transvaal. The iconic Y-shape of the flag symbolises the convergence of cultures in the nation.