Flags and National Symbols: A Look at Famous Examples

Flags are an essential component of a country’s identity. They are often rich with national symbols that represent the country’s culture, history, and beliefs. From the ferocity of a lion depicted on the flag of Ethiopia, to the serenity of the lotus flower on the flag of India, national symbols are widely depicted on flags around the world. Understanding these symbols helps us gain insight into the country’s values and heritage. In this article, we’ll explore some of the famous national symbols that are commonly depicted on flags around the world, ranging from animals to man-made symbols, and learn what they represent.


are some of the most common symbols found on national flags around the world. Lions, bald eagles, kangaroos, pandas, and reindeer are just a few examples of animals that have been used as national symbols. Each animal represents different characteristics, such as strength, freedom, and agility. For example, the bald eagle is a symbol of freedom and independence in the United States, while the dragon represents power and good luck in Bhutan. In some cases, animals have religious or cultural significance, such as the Lion of Judah in Ethiopia, which has both religious and historical significance. Understanding the meaning behind these animal symbols provides insight into a country’s history, culture, and values.

Lion of Judah

The has been an eminent national symbol for the subjects of Ethiopia for centuries. The Lion of Judah symbolizes strength, courage, and fearlessness, attributes that Ethiopian people have prided themselves on for generations. Ethiopia became associated with the Lion of Judah because of a connection to the Biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, who bore a son named Menelik I, the first Emperor of Ethiopia. Menelik I was said to be the son of King Solomon, and the Lion of Judah was the symbol of the Israelite tribe of Judah to which King David belonged.

The Lion of Judah has been featured on the Ethiopian Empire’s flag since 1897. It can also be seen on the Ethiopian coat of arms, currency, banknotes, and various official documents. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has also incorporated the Lion of Judah into its religious iconography, and it remains a symbol of Ethiopia’s identity and cultural heritage.

Interestingly, the Lion of Judah has also been used in modern times as a symbol of resistance against oppressive regimes. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which overthrew the previous Ethiopian government in 1991, incorporated the Lion of Judah into their new flag, along with other national symbols such as the star and the sun. This was meant to symbolize the new government’s commitment to upholding Ethiopia’s traditional values and cultural identity while still moving forward with modernization and progress.

The Lion of Judah is a powerful symbol that has come to embody Ethiopia’s national pride, cultural heritage, and resilience in the face of adversity. It has endured through centuries of history and remains an iconic image in Ethiopian art, literature, and popular culture.

Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle is a majestic bird that is native to North America. It is a revered symbol of strength, freedom, and power. The bird is known for its steely gaze, sharp talons, and powerful wings. Native Americans considered it as a sacred bird, and its feathers were used in religious ceremonies. The Bald Eagle became a national symbol of the United States in 1782 when it was chosen as the centerpiece of the Seal of the United States.

The Bald Eagle is a carnivorous bird that feeds on fish, small mammals, and carrion. It has a white head and tail, with a dark brown body, and striking yellow eyes, beak, and talons. The bird has a wingspan of up to 7 feet and can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour when diving for prey.

The Bald Eagle has been used as a symbol of American patriotism and national identity for centuries. It can be seen on the Great Seal of the United States, on currency, and on many official government documents. The bird has come to represent American ideals of freedom, power, and courage. It is also a symbol of the American people’s connection to the natural world and their respect for the environment.

Despite its status as a national symbol and protected species, the population of Bald Eagles suffered a sharp decline in the late 20th century due to habitat loss and pollution. However, through the efforts of conservationists and the enactment of protective measures, the birds have made a remarkable recovery and were removed from the endangered species list in 2007. Today, Bald Eagles can be found throughout North America and are a proud symbol of American wildlife conservation.

The Bald Eagle is not only a symbol of American identity, but it is also an inspiration to many people around the world, who admire its grace, power, and fierce spirit. Its striking features and magnificent flight have made it a subject of admiration and study in ornithology. The Bald Eagle has proven that through adversity, perseverance, and conservation efforts, a species can thrive and fly high once again.

If you want to learn more about national symbols and their significance, you can read about the evolution of national symbols over time on /nat-symbols-evolution/. You can also compare the national flowers of different countries on /national-flowers-comparison/. Find out what other animals represent national identities on /nat-animals-representing-identity/. And for a deeper understanding of the symbolism behind the Great Seal of the United States, check out /great-seal-usa-symbolism/.


is a national symbol of Australia and is easily recognizable on the country’s flag. The kangaroo is a marsupial, which means it carries its young ones in a pouch located on the front of its body. This unique characteristic sets it apart from other animals, making it a perfect choice for a national symbol.

The kangaroo is known for its unique and powerful physical abilities. It has strong hind legs that allow it to jump great distances and move at impressive speeds. This attribute symbolizes the country’s desire to always move forward and progress. Additionally, the kangaroo is a social animal that enjoys living in groups, which also represents the values of community and unity.

The placement of the kangaroo on the Australian flag provides insight into the country’s history and cultural identity. The flag’s blue background represents the ocean surrounding Australia, while the six white stars symbolize the constellation of the Southern Cross, which is only visible in Australia. The kangaroo and emu, an another native animal, are positioned on either side of the Australian coat of arms, which symbolizes loyalty to the country.

The inclusion of the kangaroo on the Australian flag emphasizes the country’s unique and diverse natural environment, as well as its desire to move forward and unify as a nation. Its use as a national symbol also highlights the importance of national symbols for cultural identity and pride. If you want to learn more about other hidden meanings behind national flags, check out our article on hidden meanings behind national flags.


The giant panda is one of the most beloved animals in the world, and it is no wonder that it is also a national symbol for China. These cuddly bears with their distinctive black and white markings are instantly recognizable, and their docile nature makes them a popular attraction in zoos around the world.

The giant panda is an endangered species, with fewer than 2,000 remaining in the wild. Efforts are being made to protect their natural habitat and breeding programs have been established in an attempt to increase their numbers.

In Chinese culture, pandas are seen as a symbol of peace and friendship, as well as a symbol of strength and resilience. In fact, the image of a panda was used as the official mascot of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

Interesting fact: Pandas are not only cute and cuddly but they also have a unique thumb-like structure on their front paws, which they use to grasp bamboo shoots while they eat. This adaptation allows them to consume up to 30 pounds of bamboo per day!

Panda facts
Scientific name Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Size 4 – 5 feet tall (1.2 – 1.5 meters), weighing between 200 – 300 pounds (90 – 135 kilograms)
Habitat Bamboo forests in the mountains of central China
Food Bamboo shoots and leaves, occasionally small mammals and birds
Status Endangered

The giant panda is not just a beloved animal, but also an important national symbol for China and a representation of peace and resilience. It is vital to protect and conserve this endangered species for future generations to enjoy.


The sight of reindeer on a flag immediately brings to mind images of the Arctic and the northernmost parts of the world. These majestic creatures are integral to the cultures of many indigenous populations, including the Sami people of Scandinavia, and the Inuit of Canada and Alaska.

Reindeer are known for their incredible endurance and navigational abilities, which have allowed them to survive in some of the harshest environments on earth. In fact, they are so well adapted to life in the Arctic that they are the only deer species where both males and females grow antlers, which are used for digging through snow to find food.

The image of the reindeer on a flag may represent not only the importance of this animal to a country’s culture, but also its ability to adapt and thrive in challenging conditions. For example, the flag of Sápmi, the cultural region of the Sami people which spans across northern Scandinavia, Finland, and Russia, depicts a gold-colored reindeer on a blue background. In this case, the reindeer symbolizes both the Sami people’s strong connection to the land and their perseverance in the face of historical oppression.

Similarly, the flag of the Canadian territory of Nunavut features a red inuksuk, a traditional stone marker used for navigation, and a gold-colored caribou silhouette against a white background. Here, the caribou symbolizes the importance of the animal to Inuit culture, as well as the territory’s vast, untamed wilderness.

The reindeer is a powerful symbol of resilience, adaptability, and cultural identity that has earned its place on many national and regional flags around the world.

National symbols like the reindeer on a flag can be a powerful tool for fostering a sense of shared identity and heritage among a country’s people, while also serving as a visual representation of its unique history and culture. Other symbols, like the olive branch, may have more universal meanings that are recognized across different cultures and nations.


The dragon is a renowned symbol that can be found on various national flags worldwide. It is a mythical creature associated with power, strength, and good luck in several cultures. The Chinese Dragon, for instance, represents fortune, authority, and nobility, and it is often depicted with the ability to control water and the sky. Additionally, in Chinese mythology, the dragon is seen as a symbol of the emperor and imperial power. The Welsh Dragon is also known as “Y Ddraig Goch” and is believed to symbolize power and bravery. The red dragon appears on the Welsh flag, which is green and white, and it is considered to be one of the oldest national flags globally. Another fascinating representation of the dragon is showcased on Bhutan’s flag, where the dragon is perched above a white and orange background. The dragon on Bhutan’s flag is four-clawed and is meant to represent the governance of Druk Yul, the name for Bhutan in their official language. Whether on the national flag or not, the dragon is a significant and intriguing symbol that serves as an emblem of might and wisdom across several cultures.

Brown Bear

The Brown Bear is one of the most recognizable animal symbols in the world, and it is depicted on the flags of several countries. This powerful and majestic creature is known for its strength and resilience, and it is revered by many cultures as a symbol of power and wisdom.

One of the countries that use the Brown Bear as a national symbol on their flag is Finland. The Finnish coat of arms depicts a Brown Bear standing on its hind legs against a blue background, with a crown on its head and a sword in its hand. This image represents the strength and courage of the Finnish people, as well as the country’s close relationship with nature.

Another country that features the Brown Bear on its flag is California. The California state flag shows a Brown Bear walking across a field of grass, with a red star in the upper left corner and the word “California” written in bold letters below. This flag was designed in 1846, during the Bear Flag Revolt, when a group of American settlers declared California an independent republic.

In addition to appearing on national flags, the Brown Bear is also an important symbol in many cultures around the world. Native American tribes, for example, often associate the Brown Bear with strength, courage, and healing. In Hindu mythology, the bear is seen as a symbol of the god Shiva, who is associated with the power of destruction and creation.

The Brown Bear is a powerful and iconic symbol that represents strength, courage, and resilience. Whether it is featured on a national flag or revered in a cultural context, the Brown Bear continues to captivate and inspire people around the world.

White-tailed Deer

The white-tailed deer is a majestic animal that can be found across North and South America. It is known for its distinctive tail, which is white on the underside and can be raised like a flag as a warning to other deer. The white-tailed deer is also acclaimed for its ability to run at high speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, making it a popular game animal for hunters and a source of fascination for wildlife enthusiasts.

In addition to being a popular game animal, the white-tailed deer is also an important cultural symbol. It is the state animal of Mississippi, which has the highest population of white-tailed deer in the United States. The white-tailed deer is also depicted on the flags of several counties in the U.S., including Jackson County in Missouri and Waushara County in Wisconsin.

The white-tailed deer has also played a significant role in Native American culture. The Cherokee Nation, for example, has a legend about a magical white deer that taught the tribe how to hunt and provided them with food during a time of famine. In some Native American tribes, the white-tailed deer is considered a symbol of grace, swiftness, and gentleness.

Despite its cultural significance, the white-tailed deer is facing a number of threats in the wild. Habitat loss, overhunting, and climate change are all contributing to a decline in population. Efforts are being made to protect and preserve this iconic animal, including programs to restore habitat, regulate hunting, and promote public education about conservation.

The white-tailed deer is an animal that is deeply ingrained in the culture and history of the Americas. Its beauty, athleticism, and cultural significance make it a symbol of the natural world that will continue to inspire and fascinate people for generations to come.


The leopard, also known as the panther or the pard, is a large feline that is found only in the African and Asian continents. The leopard has been depicted on the national flag of several countries around the world, such as Benin, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The animal embodies qualities like intelligence, agility, and power, which are highly valued in these countries.

The leopard is known for its distinctive spots, which provide it with excellent camouflage in its natural habitat. It is also a skilled predator and can kill prey that is up to three times its own weight. The leopard is solitary and elusive, and is known to be one of the most difficult of all big cats to track and observe in the wild.

In mythology and culture, the leopard has played an important role. In ancient Rome, the leopard was considered a symbol of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. In Africa, the leopard is revered as a powerful and important animal. Tribal people believed that wearing the skin of a leopard would grant them its strength, speed, and intelligence.

In today’s world, the leopard is under threat due to the loss of habitat, hunting, and poaching. It is estimated that only 50,000 to 80,000 leopards remain in the wild, and they are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The leopard on national flags serves as a symbol of strength, speed, and intelligence. It remains an important animal in the cultural and mythological aspects of various countries. However, the leopard’s survival is threatened, and it is up to people to take action and protect this majestic creature for future generations to come.


Many national flags feature plants as their symbols. For instance, the Canadian flag proudly displays Maple Leaf, which has been a symbol of the country since the 18th century. Another plant that is commonly seen on flags is the Lotus Flower, which is the national flower of India and represents purity and enlightenment. Meanwhile, the Olive Branch on the flag of Greece signifies peace and prosperity. Similarly, the Cedar Tree on the Lebanese flag is a symbol of holiness and resilience, as it has been a significant part of religious beliefs in the Middle East for centuries. Other plants that feature on flags include the Palmetto Tree on the South Carolina state flag, the Coconut Palm Tree on the flag of the Maldives, the Thistle on the Scottish flag, the Acacia Tree on the flag of Kenya, and the Ferns on the flag of New Zealand.

Maple Leaf

The Maple Leaf is one of the most recognizable national symbols in the world and is prominently featured on the flag of Canada. The Maple Leaf has been a symbol of Canada since the 18th century and has been used on coins, crests, and coats of arms throughout the country’s history.

The Maple Leaf is a symbol of strength and unity, and it represents the Canadian landscape and the country’s vast forests. The Maple Tree itself has been used for centuries by the Indigenous peoples of Canada for food, medicine, and building materials, which is why it holds such significance in Canadian culture.

The Maple Leaf is featured prominently on the Canadian flag in bright red, and it is a powerful symbol of national pride for Canadians. The flag was first introduced in 1965 and replaced the previous flag which featured the Union Jack and the Canadian coat of arms.

The Maple Leaf is also used as a symbol in Canadian sports, with many Canadian teams incorporating the symbol into their logos and team names. It is not uncommon to see maple leaves on hockey jerseys, soccer kits, and baseball caps across the country.

The Maple Leaf is an important national symbol in Canada, representing the country’s diverse landscape, Indigenous history, and national pride. Its use on the Canadian flag and in Canadian sports teams is a testament to its enduring significance in Canadian culture.

Lotus Flower

The lotus flower is a popular symbol in various cultures around the world, known for its beauty and significance. Here are some interesting facts about this symbol:

Fact 1: The lotus flower is a sacred symbol in many religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. It is often depicted in art and literature, representing purity, enlightenment, and rebirth.
Fact 2: The lotus flower is also associated with the Ancient Egyptians, who believed that the flower represented creation and rebirth. It was often used in their artwork and architecture, and was even used in the decoration of the tombs of Pharaohs.
Fact 3: The lotus flower is an aquatic plant, growing in muddy ponds and rivers. Despite its surroundings, it manages to rise above the water and bloom into a stunning flower, earning it the nickname “the flower that rises from the mud.”
Fact 4: The lotus flower has medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Its seeds can be eaten raw or cooked, and are a source of protein. The roots of the lotus plant can also be used to make a herbal tea, known for its calming properties.
Fact 5: Lotus flowers come in a variety of colors, including pink, white, and yellow. In Hinduism, different colored lotus flowers are associated with different deities. For example, the pink lotus is associated with the god of creation, Brahma.

The lotus flower is a fascinating symbol with a rich history and cultural significance. Whether you appreciate it for its beauty or its spiritual meaning, it is truly a symbol to be admired.

Olive Branch

The Olive Branch is a famous symbol of peace, which is why it appears on the flags of several countries around the world. Here are a few examples:

Country Flag Description
Greece Greek flag The Olive Branch is found on the top left side of the flag, next to the white cross, and is meant to symbolize peace.
Cyprus Cyprus flag The Olive Branch is located on the left side of the flag, underneath the map of the island, and is meant to represent peace.
Palestine Palestinian flag The Olive Branch appears in the center of the flag, and represents the desire for peace in the region.

The Olive Branch has been a symbol of peace for millennia, dating back to ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it to represent their respective goddesses of peace. In more modern times, the Olive Branch has become a symbol of peace in many different cultures, religions, and countries. Its use on flags is a testament to the power of this simple but meaningful symbol.

Cedar Tree

The Cedar tree is a popular symbol on several national flags around the world, most notably the flag of Lebanon. The Cedar tree on the Lebanese flag is a representation of eternal life and strength, which are qualities that the Lebanese people hold dear. The symbol of the Cedar tree is also found on the country’s currency, passports, and national emblem.

But why was the Cedar tree chosen as a national symbol? Cedar trees have been a part of Lebanon’s landscape for centuries, and they have deep cultural and historical significance. In ancient times, Cedar trees were highly valued for their timber, which was used for construction and shipbuilding. The Phoenicians, who were known for their trading prowess, used Cedar wood to build their ships, which helped them establish a maritime empire. The Cedar tree also features prominently in the Bible, where it is mentioned more than 70 times.

Apart from its historical and cultural significance, the Cedar tree is also a majestic tree with many impressive features. It is a slow-growing tree that can live for hundreds of years. The Cedar tree can grow up to 40 meters tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 2 meters. It has a pyramid-like shape and a broad crown, which adds to its grandeur. The leaves of the Cedar tree are evergreen and needle-like, providing a beautiful backdrop to the tree’s impressive cones and bark.

In addition to its aesthetic and cultural qualities, Cedar trees have many practical uses. The oil extracted from Cedar trees is highly prized for its medicinal properties and is used in aromatherapy. Cedar wood is also resistant to rot and insect damage, making it an ideal material for building furniture, decks, and fences.

The Cedar tree is a fitting symbol for a country that values strength, resilience, and beauty. Its presence on the national flag of Lebanon is a testament to the enduring qualities of this majestic tree and the people who hold it dear.

Palmetto Tree

The Palmetto Tree is a famous national symbol found on the flag of South Carolina. This remarkable tree can grow up to 30 feet tall and is easy to recognize with its fan-shaped leaves and distinctive trunk. It is also known as Sabal Palmetto and Cabbage Palmetto.

The Palmetto Tree has been a symbol of South Carolina since the Revolutionary War. During the battle of Sullivan’s Island in 1776, the fort on the island was made of Palmetto logs. During the battle, the Palmetto logs proved to be surprisingly resilient and deflected the British cannons. This averted what might have been a significant defeat for the Patriots.

The Palmetto Tree on the South Carolina flag is also accompanied by a crescent, which represents the silver emblem worn on the caps of the South Carolina troops during the Revolutionary War.

Apart from its significance in South Carolina history, the Palmetto Tree has several practical uses. The Palmetto leaves have been used for centuries for making roofs, baskets, hats, and fans. The fruit of the tree is also edible and is used to make a famous variety of Palmetto cheese.

Here are some interesting facts about the Palmetto Tree:

  • The Palmetto Tree is the state tree of Florida and South Carolina.
  • The Palmetto Tree can be found along the coast from North Carolina to south Florida.
  • The Palmetto Tree is often used in landscaping due to its unique shape and low maintenance requirements.
  • The Palmetto bug is named after the Palmetto Tree, as it is often found living in the bark and leaves of the tree.

The Palmetto Tree is an essential symbol in American history, and its depiction on the South Carolina flag continues to inspire visitors and residents of the state alike.

Coconut Palm Tree

The Coconut Palm Tree (scientific name Cocos nucifera) is a symbol featured on several national flags around the world. The most well-known example is the flag of the Maldives, which features a single green coconut palm tree in the center against a red background. Here are some interesting facts about the coconut palm tree and its symbolism:

  • The coconut palm tree is a tropical plant that is primarily found in coastal areas of Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and parts of northern South America.
  • Due to its versatile uses, the coconut palm tree has been labeled as the “Tree of Life” by many cultures around the world.
  • The tree can grow up to 30 meters tall and its leaves can span between 4 and 6 meters in length.
  • The coconut palm tree produces a fruit that is also called a coconut, which is a drupe, not a nut. Each fruit contains a single seed that is surrounded by a husk and a hard shell.
  • The coconut fruit has a wide range of uses in cooking, medicine, and cosmetics. Coconut oil is widely used as a cooking ingredient and is also used in the production of soaps, shampoos, and other beauty products.
  • Symbolically, the coconut palm tree represents prosperity, resilience, and the tropical climate of the areas where it is grown. It is often associated with the beach, the ocean, and island life.

In addition to the Maldives, the flag of the Samoa Islands also features a coconut palm tree, as well as the flags of the Caribbean islands of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The coconut palm tree is also featured prominently on the Coat of Arms of Panama, where it represents the country’s natural riches and the isthmus it is located on. The use of the coconut palm tree in national symbols illustrates the symbolic importance and versatility of this tropical plant.


The thistle is a well-known symbol of Scotland and is depicted on the Scottish national flag, also known as the Saltire. This prickly plant has a long history in Scotland, dating back to the 13th century.

There are many theories about why the thistle was chosen as the national symbol of Scotland. One of the most popular stories is that during an invasion by Norse forces, a group of soldiers were attempting to sneak up on Scottish troops in the dead of night. One soldier stepped on a thistle and cried out in pain, alerting the Scots and allowing them to repel the attack. The thistle thus became a symbol of national pride and was incorporated into the Scottish coat of arms.

The thistle is a tough and hardy plant that can grow in even the harshest of conditions, making it a fitting symbol for the resilient Scottish people. The plant’s purple flowers can also be seen as a symbol of royalty, as purple was traditionally a color reserved for monarchs.

Interestingly, there are many different species of thistle, but the most common one used as a national symbol is the Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium). This plant is native to Europe and western Asia and is characterized by its tall, spiky stem and large, prickly leaves.

In addition to its use on the Scottish flag, the thistle has been incorporated into many other aspects of Scottish culture, including traditional dress, literature, and music. The thistle is also a popular motif in Scottish art and crafts.

The thistle is a powerful symbol of Scottish identity and heritage, representing the country’s history, resilience, and beauty.

Acacia Tree

The acacia tree is a famous national symbol found on the flag of a few African countries. This hardy tree grows in the wild, mostly in arid and semi-arid regions of Africa, and is known for its medicinal properties and its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

The acacia tree is deeply rooted in African culture and is often associated with strength, resilience, and prosperity. In many African countries, it is considered a sacred tree and is revered for its role in providing shelter, food, and medicine.

On the flags of several African nations, such as Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, the acacia tree is depicted as a central motif, representing their natural beauty, cultural heritage, and independence. The tree’s branches stretch outwards, symbolizing the country’s aspirations of growth, unity, and progress.

Interestingly, the acacia tree has numerous other symbolic meanings throughout the world. It is often associated with purity, immortality, and the eternal nature of the soul in many cultures. The tree’s resin is sometimes used as incense in ancient religious ceremonies, while its wood is used to make furniture, musical instruments, and even for carvings.

The acacia tree is a fascinating and multi-dimensional symbol that holds great significance for many cultures. Its resilience, beauty, and usefulness have made it a cherished symbol of strength, prosperity, and hope for many nations around the world.


Ferns are a widespread and diverse group of plants, which have become popular national symbols depicted on flags around the world due to their unique appearance and cultural significance. In fact, ferns have been used as symbols in various cultures such as Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

One famous example is the Silver Fern, which is featured on the flag of New Zealand. This fern variety is native to New Zealand and was a valuable resource to the Maori people, who used its fronds to create shelter and clothing. The Silver Fern represents strength, resilience, and pride in New Zealand’s rich heritage and natural resources.

Another notable use of ferns as national symbols is in Japan, where the Imperial Seal of Japan features a stylized depiction of a fern leaf. The fern is known as the “Kiri” in Japanese culture and was used as a symbol of the imperial family in the Edo period. Today, the fern is still seen as a symbol of elegance and nobility in Japanese culture.

In addition to New Zealand and Japan, other countries have also used ferns as national symbols depicted on their flags. Some examples include:

Country Fern Variety Symbolic Meaning
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Labrador Tea Fern Resilience and Adaptability
Azores, Portugal Azorean Tree Fern Abundance and Resilience
Lebanon Cedar Fern Resilience, Strength, and Perseverance
Fiji Gobo Fern Abundance and Beauty

As we can see, ferns have become a popular national symbol due to their unique appearance and cultural significance. These plants have been used to represent resilience, strength, adaptability, beauty, and abundance in various cultures around the world. No wonder ferns have made their way into the national symbols depicted on flags of countries!

Man-Made Symbols

Man-made symbols on flags are a fascinating reflection of a nation’s history and culture. The Star of David on the flag of Israel, for example, represents the Jewish people, their history and their identity as a nation. The Crescent Moon and star on the flags of many Islamic countries symbolize Islam’s early development in Arabia and its spread throughout the world. The Hammer and Sickle is a symbol of communism, representing the unity of the working class and peasantry. The Harp on the flag of Ireland represents the country’s rich musical heritage. The Trident on the flag of Barbados symbolizes the country’s maritime history and fishing industry. The Scimitar on the flag of Saudi Arabia represents the Islamic faith and the country’s role as the birthplace of the prophet Muhammad. The Cross on the flags of many Christian countries represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Anchor on the flag of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, represents the area’s strong ties to the sea. Lastly, Guns on the flag of Mozambique represent the country’s struggle for independence and the importance of defending it.

Star of David

The Star of David is a religious symbol that is prominently featured on the national flag of Israel. It is also known as the Shield of David and is made up of two overlapping triangles that form a six-pointed star. While the Star of David has become synonymous with Jewish identity, it has a long history that predates the modern state of Israel.

Here are some interesting facts about the Star of David:

  • The Star of David has been used as a symbol of Judaism for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that it became widely used.
  • The symbol’s connection to King David is not well-documented, and it is more likely that it originated as a decorative motif.
  • During the Holocaust, Jews were forced to wear the Star of David as an identifying mark, which has led to some controversy about its use in modern times.
  • The use of the Star of David on the Israeli flag was proposed by the flag’s designer, who was inspired by the symbol’s historical significance and its connection to Jewish identity.
  • The flag of Israel was adopted in 1948, when the modern state of Israel was established, and has since become one of the most recognizable national flags in the world.

Despite its origins as a decorative motif, the Star of David has become an important symbol of Jewish identity and the Jewish people as a whole. Its presence on the Israeli flag serves as a reminder of the country’s history and the struggles that the Jewish people have faced throughout the centuries. While controversy may surround its use in certain contexts, the Star of David remains an enduring symbol that is deeply ingrained in Jewish culture and history.

Crescent Moon

The crescent moon is a common symbol displayed on the flags of many countries and organizations around the world. It is commonly used to represent the Muslim faith and is displayed on the national flag of several Islamic countries. Here are some examples:

Country Flag Image Description
Turkey Turkish flag The Turkish national flag features a red background with a white crescent moon and star.
Pakistan Pakistani flag The Pakistani national flag features a green background with a white crescent moon and star.
Malaysia Malaysian flag The Malaysian national flag also features a crescent moon and star, but on a blue background.

In addition to representing the Muslim faith, the crescent moon has also been used as a symbol of femininity and fertility in various cultures. It is often associated with the goddesses Artemis and Diana from Greek and Roman mythology.

The crescent moon is a powerful and versatile symbol that has been used in various contexts throughout history. Its use on national flags serves as a reminder of the important role that religion and cultural identity play in shaping a country’s history and identity.

Hammer and Sickle

The is perhaps one of the most iconic political symbols of the 20th century, representing the ideology of communism. The symbol is a combination of a hammer, representing the industrial working class, and a sickle, representing the agricultural working class. It was first used during the Russian Revolution in 1917 and was later adopted as the official symbol of the Soviet Union.

The Hammer and Sickle is displayed on the national flag of several countries that have adopted communism as their political ideology. The most famous of these flags is the red flag of the Soviet Union, which featured the hammer and sickle in gold against a red background. The symbol was prominently displayed on all official buildings, government documents, and propaganda material of the Soviet Union.

In addition to the Soviet Union, several other countries also adopted the Hammer and Sickle on their national flags. These include Angola, Mozambique, and Vietnam. The use of the symbol on national flags has declined since the fall of the Soviet Union, but it still remains a powerful and recognizable symbol of communism.

The Hammer and Sickle has also been used as a symbol by various communist political parties and organizations around the world. It has become associated with leftist movements and communist ideology in general. While some view the symbol as a representation of oppression and totalitarianism, others see it as a symbol of resistance against capitalism and imperialism.

Despite its association with communism, the Hammer and Sickle continues to be a well-recognized and powerful symbol in modern times. While it may no longer be displayed on national flags, it remains a symbol of activism and resistance against the dominant political and economic systems of the world.


The harp is a well-known symbol in many countries, often featured as a national symbol on flags. The harp’s history dates back to the biblical era, where it was used in both secular and sacred music. It’s believed that the harp originated in ancient Egypt and traveled to Europe during the medieval era. Here are some countries that make use of the harp as a national symbol:

Country Flag Details
Ireland Ireland is known as the “land of the harp,” and the harp is often depicted on Irish flags, coins, and government documents. The Irish harp is also used as the emblem of many Irish organizations, including the Gaelic Athletic Association.
South Sudan The harp appears on the flag of South Sudan as a symbol of peace and love. It’s a part of South Sudan’s coat of arms, which also includes a shield with a giraffe, a leopard, and a star.
Lebanon In Lebanon, the harp is featured on the national flag as a religious and national symbol. The country is known for its unique style of harp music, which features the use of quarter-tones.

The harp symbolizes different things in different cultures, ranging from love and peace to national pride and religious significance. However, in all cases, it represents the rich history and cultural heritage of the countries that feature it on their flags.


The trident is a powerful and recognizable symbol depicted on several national flags around the world. The three-pronged spear, also known as a trishula, has been used for centuries and has a rich history in mythology, religion, and warfare.

In Greek mythology, the trident is closely associated with the god of the sea, Poseidon. It became his iconic symbol and was commonly depicted in art and literature. The trident was believed to be so powerful that it could create earthquakes, cause storms, and shake the earth.

India also features the trident on its national flag. In Hinduism, the trishula symbolizes the three fundamental aspects of creation, preservation, and destruction, which are embodied by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, respectively. The trishula, therefore, represents a balance between these forces.

The trident is also a prominent symbol in the flag of Barbados. It is believed to represent the nation’s independence from Britain, where the three prongs represent the three principles of democracy, government of, by, and for the people, and the independence of parliament.

In addition to its religious and mythological significance, the trident has also been used as a weapon of war. It was commonly used by ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans, as well as in modern times in some countries.

The trident is a fascinating and multi-faceted symbol that carries deep cultural and historical meaning for the nations that have chosen to include it on their flags. Its power and significance make it a compelling icon that continues to inspire and intrigue people around the world.


The is a type of sword that is curved from the tip to the base. This weapon is featured on the flag of several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The scimitar is believed to have originated in the Middle East and is popularly used as a symbol of valor, strength, and courage in Arab and Islamic cultures.

The shape of the scimitar is said to be inspired by the shape of a crescent moon. Some believe that this design was intended to make the weapon more effective in battle, allowing the user to make quick and powerful slashes against their opponent. Others believe that the curved shape of the scimitar reflects the Arabic script, which is also curved.

The scimitar has been used as a symbol on the flags of several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. In these countries, the scimitar is seen as a symbol of national pride and heritage, representing the strength and courage of the people.

In addition to its use on flags, the scimitar has also been popularized in popular culture, including in movies and video games. The curved blade of the scimitar is often depicted as a weapon of choice for fictional characters from the Middle East and is often associated with exoticism and danger.

The scimitar is a powerful symbol of Arab and Islamic culture, evoking the qualities of valor, strength, and courage. Its distinctive curved shape and association with the crescent moon make it a recognizable and iconic symbol that continues to be revered in the region and around the world.


The is one of the most iconic and universally recognized symbols in the world. It is depicted on flags of many countries and is associated with Christianity, where it represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

In addition to religious symbolism, the Cross also holds cultural significance in many parts of the world. For example, the Scandinavian countries have the Nordic Cross on their flags, which is a symbol of their cultural and historical heritage.

The shape of the cross has also been incorporated into many geometric designs and patterns in art, architecture, and even fashion. Its simplicity and versatility make it a timeless symbol that can be used in a variety of contexts.

Unfortunately, the symbol of the Cross has also been a source of controversy and conflict throughout history. It has been used to justify acts of violence and oppression, leading some to reject it as a symbol of hate rather than love and peace.

Despite this, the Cross remains a powerful and enduring symbol that continues to inspire and unite people around the world. Whether it is embraced as a symbol of faith, heritage, or simply as a beautiful design element, the Cross will always hold a significant place in human history and culture.


The anchor is a widely recognized national symbol depicted on flags around the world, symbolizing hope, steadfastness, and stability. The anchor symbol is often associated with maritime activities such as fishing and seafaring industries.

One of the most recognized flags featuring an anchor is the flag of Brazil. The yellow diamond on the flag bears a blue circle with 27 white stars, encircling a central depiction of an anchor bound with rope. The anchor symbolizes the country’s naval strength and its influence in the global shipping industry.

Another flag featuring an anchor symbol is that of Portugal, which features a coat of arms with seven castles and five blue shields, each with an anchor symbol in silver. The anchor represents Portugal’s rich maritime history, which includes a long tradition of exploration and discovery.

In addition to flags, the anchor symbol is also used in various other applications. It’s a popular symbol used in nautical and maritime-themed logos, as well as in jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, and earrings.

The anchor is a powerful national symbol that embodies strength, reliability, and continuity. Its depiction on flags around the world represents not only a nation’s heritage but also its connection to the sea, maritime traditions, and its role in international trade.


Guns are not a common symbol on flags around the world, but they can be found in a few cases. Here are some examples:

Country Flag Guns Symbolism
Belize The flag features two woodcutters with a mahogany tree between them, representing the importance of the mahogany industry to the country’s economy. The woodcutters are also holding an axe and a paddle, which can be seen as symbols of defense.
Mozambique The Mozambique flag features an AK-47 assault rifle, with a bayonet attached to the barrel and the magazine removed. The rifle is superimposed on an open book and is crossed by a farm hoe, which represents the country’s agriculture. These symbols are meant to represent the country’s struggle for independence and its defense.

It should be noted that the use of guns as a symbol on a national flag can be controversial, as it can be seen as glorifying violence and warfare. However, in some cases, such as Mozambique, it can be viewed as a symbol of resistance and liberation.


In conclusion, the national symbols depicted on flags around the world are not merely decorative elements, but they represent the identity, history, and values of a country. From animals to plants and man-made symbols, each emblem has a significant meaning behind it.

Throughout history, these symbols have been used as a means of communication, particularly during war and peace negotiations. They are symbols of patriotism, courage, and freedom, evoking pride and unity among the citizens of a nation.

Moreover, the use of these symbols on flags has become increasingly popular, with most countries having one or more symbols included on their national flags. Some countries even have multiple flags, each with a different symbol, depending on the occasion.

As we have seen, these symbols can range from animals to plants and man-made objects, with each emblem having its unique history and story. They are representations of the country’s cultural heritage, historical events, and even its natural resources.

In essence, the national symbols depicted on flags serve as a powerful reminder of the values that a country holds dear and can be a source of inspiration for citizens, especially during challenging times. Therefore, understanding the meaning behind these symbols is essential in appreciating the diversity and cultural richness of our world.

To summarize, the national symbols depicted on flags are not just pretty pictures, but they represent the values and history of a country. They are powerful tools of communication and unity and deserve the utmost respect and admiration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a national symbol?

A national symbol is an object, plant, or animal that is widely recognized as representing a country or nation. These symbols often appear on flags, currency, and other national emblems.

Why are national symbols important?

National symbols help to identify and unify a nation, by giving individuals a shared cultural heritage and a sense of belonging to a larger community.

What is the Lion of Judah?

The Lion of Judah is a symbol of the Ethiopian Empire, which was incorporated into the modern-day flag of Ethiopia. It is also used in Rastafarian culture as a symbol of their faith and identity.

What is the significance of the bald eagle on the US flag?

The bald eagle was chosen as a symbol of the United States because of its strength, beauty, and longevity. It represents freedom and independence, and its placement atop the flag suggests its triumph over all other forms of tyranny and oppression.

Why is the kangaroo used as a national symbol of Australia?

The kangaroo is indigenous to Australia and has become a symbol of the country’s unique wildlife. It is also valued for its endurance, strength, and sense of balance, qualities that are associated with the Australian spirit.

What does the lotus flower symbolize?

The lotus flower is a sacred symbol in many cultures, including India and Egypt. It represents purity, enlightenment, and spiritual growth, as it emerges from the murky waters of a pond to blossom into a beautiful flower.

What does the crescent moon represent?

The crescent moon is often associated with Islam, as it represents the lunar calendar used in the Islamic faith. It is also a symbol of new beginnings and growth, as it appears before the full moon and waxes in size each night.

What is the meaning of the hammer and sickle symbol?

The hammer and sickle is a symbol of communism and represents the unity of workers and peasants. The hammer represents industrial workers and the sickle represents farmers, and together they represent the working class coming together for the common good.

Why is the cross used as a national symbol of many countries?

The cross is a significant symbol in Christianity, which has played a major role in shaping the culture and identity of many countries. It represents sacrifice, redemption, and hope, and is often used as a symbol of faith and national unity.

What is the significance of the anchor symbol?

The anchor represents stability, hope, and steadfastness. It is often used in maritime contexts, as ships rely on anchors to stay in place and weather storms. The anchor also symbolizes the Christian faith, as it is used to represent the hope of eternal life.


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