VietnamCulture and HistoryThe Meanings of Vietnam's Flag

The Meanings of Vietnam’s Flag

The flag of Vietnam has always been the national pride of many Vietnamese. There have been numerous changes to the design throughout history, especially during the Vietnam War. Each has its special meaning. This article will help you understand more about the history and meaning of Vietnam’s flag.

The History of Vietnam’s Flag

Throughout feudal dynasties in history, the flag of Vietnam had changed many times and disappeared for some time when the country was under colonization. In 1940, the red flag with a central yellow star first appeared in some local revolutions against the French colonial government in the South of Vietnam. It became the flag of the Viet Minh forces that the leader Ho Chi Minh established in 1941 to support the locals in the war against the French.

In August 1945, in the meeting of the National Assembly, they chose the red background and yellow star banner as the official flag of the entire revolution over the country. After the revolution’s victory in August, on September 2nd, 1945, the flag officially became the government flag of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the North while the President read Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence. In 1976, the United Nations officially recorded the flag as the national flag of Vietnam, recognizing it as an independent nation on the world’s map.

On the other side, the South government had its own flag; many Vietnamese still remember this flag as “the three stripes.” The yellow background with three parallel red lines in the middle drew inspiration from the revolutionary flags of many dynasties in Vietnam’s history. The use of this flag in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is banned in Vietnam, except for illustration in films and movies.

republic of vietnam flag
Flag of the Republic of Vietnam
the banner of the National Liberation Forces of the Southern Vietnam
This flag was adopted from 1960 to 1975 by the National Liberation Forces of Southern Vietnam

This is the banner of the National Liberation Forces of Southern Vietnam. The forces established a new government in Southern Vietnam, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, instead of the Republic of Vietnam. This flag was adopted from 1960 to 1975, derived from the red flag and the central yellow star of the independent government in the north. The red part stands for an independent part of Vietnam; the blue symbolizes the hope for peace and independence for the people in the south of Vietnam at that time.

On April 30th, 1975, this flag was taken to the top of the Independence Palace when the Vietnam War ended, reunifying both North and South. After the historical event, the two revolutionary flags were still hung in the government offices and schools. On July 2nd, 1976, Congress decided to unify the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. They chose the official flag below, a red background with a yellow star in the center.

The Appearance and Meanings of Vietnam’s Flag

The current Vietnam flag
This is the official flag of Vietnam at present

What you see in Vietnam’s flag is quite simple: a yellow star on a red background designed by Nguyen Huu Tien. The meaning of Vietnam’s flag lies in the five-pointed star, which stands for the five primary classes in the society at the time: the scholars, the peasants, the artisans/craftsmen, the traders, and the military. The red color of the background symbolizes the fights and victories in the wars throughout Vietnam. Another meaning of Vietnam’s flag is to remember the Vietnamese soldiers who sacrificed themselves to protect the peace and independence of the country.

hanoi flag tower 3
The Vietnamese flag is usually hung at government offices and historical attractions in Vietnam

On every memorable national holiday in Vietnam, such as Reunification Day, Independence Day, Tet holidays, and traditional festivals, locals proudly hang their flags outside their houses.

Hanging the flag in Tet holidays
Hanging of the national flags outside of homes

Nowadays, when you travel to the country, you will quickly encounter symbols of the flag printed on t-shirts and some items in souvenir shops. Several vendors in Ben Thanh Market sell printed t-shirts where you can buy one with Vietnam’s flag on it. Vietnam’s flag is always the pride of every Vietnamese, so people often wear it to celebrate when they achieve special medals in international competitions like sports and beauty queen contests.

Vietnamese fans
Vietnamese fans cheering for the national football team

Conclusion on the Meanings of Vietnam’s Flag

Like the official flags in other countries, Vietnam’s flag is meaningful, and people always take pride in it because it reflects the historical events and represents all races and classes in the country.

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