Fun with flags of the world- Sheldon Cooper style
Ever since we watched Jim Parsons (a.k.a Sheldon Cooper) passionately teach vexillology, the study of flags, on his “Fun with Flags” shows, we have wanted to do something similar. While obviously not matching the high standards set by “Dr. Sheldon Cooper”, here’s our very own humble beginning of Fun with Flags. In this, we will share interesting tidbits about flags from around the world. So here we go!
“Hello. I’m Dr. Sheldon Cooper, and welcome to Sheldon Cooper presents: Fun with Flags.”
– Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
The shape of Nepal’s flag has a unique feature – it is the only flag that is not rectangular. The unusual shape that you see actually symbolizes the tall mountain range in which it is located – The Himalayas!
United States of America
The current 50-star American flag was designed by a 17-year old, Robert G. Heft. As part of a class project in his high-school history class, he designed the flag for which his teacher gave him a B-! After discussion however, he agreed that he would change Heft’s grade if the flag design was accepted by the United States Congress. After the flag was adopted, the teacher honored their agreement and changed the grade to A.
The world’s 2nd oldest flag, Austria’s flag was designed by Duke Leopold V in 1230. According to legend, once after a battle Leopold’s white-colored battle-dress was soaked in blood. However, when he untied his belt, the cloth was white underneath, thus giving the flag’s design!
United Kingdom’s flag (the Union Jack) actually combines the symbols of its 3 then-member nations. The flag is made of 3 parts – St. George’s cross of England, St. Andrew’s cross of Scotland and St. Patrick’s cross of Ireland. Wales wasn’t a member of the United Kingdom at that time.
The flag of Mozambique, adopted in 1983, presents a unique contrast- it has an AK-47 and an open book! The AK-47 symbolizes defense and vigilance while the open book symbolizes importance of education. It is one of only 2 national flags of the UN member nations to have a firearm on it – the other is Guatemala.
The white flag is internationally recognized as a protective sign of truce, ceasefire or surrender. A white flag signifies that the approaching negotiator is unarmed with an intent to surrender or make peace or a desire to communicate. The use of the white flag to surrender is included in The Hague Conventions (1899 & 1907) and it is prohibited to fire at a person or vehicle bearing the white flag, as included in Geneva Conventions (1949).
Semaphore flags is a telegraphy system to convey information from a distance by means of visual signals using hand-held flags. The specific position of the flags conveys the alphabets and numerals to be communicated. To communicate numbers, the “Numerals” flag is signaled first. For letters, the “J” flag is signaled first. It is widely used at sea and for emergency communication in daylight.
Flag of Mars
Bet you didn’t know there was a flag designed for the planet Mars! While not official in a legal sense, the flag was designed by a NASA planetary scientist in 1998 to evoke a vision of the “future history” of Mars. The red bar symbolizes Mars as it is today, the green symbolizes its exploration and eventual transformation into a more Earth-like world (blue).
Hope you liked our first edition of Fun with Flags. We will come up with more interesting and unusual facts about flags in our future editions. If there’s any specific flag or theme you’d like us to cover, do let us know in the comments!