Armenian flag that is also known as Armenian Tricolour has three horizontal bands. These bands have equal width, and from top to bottom the colors are red, blue, and orange, respectively.
The flag of Armenia was designed by Stepan Malkhasyants. He was an Armenian academician, philologist, linguist, and lexicographer. During his career, Malkhasyants translated many works of Armenian classical historians. The flag designed by Malkhasyants was adopted by the Armenian Supreme Soviet on 24 August 1990.
The chosen red, blue, and orange flag colors come from the Lusignan period. At that time, the red, blue, yellow flag was the official. Soon yellow was replaced by orange as it better merged with the other two colors. And still, the orange color has a symbolic meaning. It s often called the color of apricot in Armenian (ծիրանագույն), which is one of the most popular fruits in Armenia.
The History of the Armenian Flag
During the Soviet times, as a part of the USSR Armenia had various flags.
As for the beginning, the ratio of the national flag was 2:3. Later, it was changed to 1:2. The other prototype that was rejected was the rainbow version of the flag. However, this prototype is saved and kept in the House-Museum of Martiros Saryan, in the capital city of Yerevan.
During different periods of time, Armenia had various flags. For instance, during the Armenian history, each dynasty introduced its flag usually, with a symbolizing animal. This animal could be a tiger, eagle, dragon or any other animal. For example, there were two eagles gazing at each other, and a flower between them, in the flag of the Artaxiad Dynasty. The background of the flag was red.
The Symbolic Meaning of the Armenian National Flag
The colors of the Armenian flag have different explanations.
According to one of the explanations, the color red is taken as a symbol of the blood of the Armenian nation. During history, these people have much struggled against foreign invasions. The greatest reason was religion. However, being the first Christian country, Armenians never betrayed heir religious beliefs. The worst disaster was the Armenian Genocide with 1.5 million innocent victims. The red color is taken to represent the blood of these victims.
The blue color is the symbol of the Armenian pure and clear sky, while the orange represents the courage of the Armenian ancient nation. However, the orange color is also associated with the wheat field. Wheat has a holy meaning for Armenians because it is used to bake bread which is never forgotten in the Armenian table. On the other hand, the orange color is also the color of an Armenian symbolic fruit - apricot.
Let’s also consider the symbolism of the Armenian flag according to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. It is stated that the red color symbolizes the Armenian Highland and the struggle of Armenian people who tried to survive during harsh times, their Christian faith, freedom, and independence. The blue stands for the will of Armenians to live in peace under the peaceful skies. The orange color is the symbol of the creative talents and hard-working nature of Armenians.
The Usage of the Armenian National Flag
In 2006, a law was applied in Armenia. According to this law, the flag of Armenia was to be raised in multiple official and state buildings, including the Residence of the President, Government, Parliament, Constitutional Court, Central Bank of Armenia, Office of Public Prosecutor, and many other governmental buildings.
During the mourning ceremonies, a black ribbon is placed at the top side of the cloth. The Armenian flag must always be clean and unfaded, and its lower side should be at least 2.5 meters above the ground.
The Day of Armenian Flag
Every year on the 15th of June, the day of the Armenian national flag is celebrated. This date is marked as the la of the Armenian flag was passed on the 15th f June in 2006. However, for the first time, the day was celebrated 4 years later, in 2010.
How the Armenian Tricolor Influences
In the national anthem of Armenia which is called “Mer Hayrenik” (Our fatherland), there is a part where the national flag is mentioned.
Here is, brother, for you a flag,
That I made with my hands.
Nights I didn't sleep,
With tears, I washed it.
Look at it, the three colors
Which are our gifted symbol.
Let it be bright against the enemy.
Let Armenia always be glorious.
The Flag of Artsakh
The Republic of Artsakh adopted its flag on June 2, 1992. It is very similar to the flag of Armenia. However, there is one difference - a white pattern. A white, five-toothed, stepped carpet pattern begins at the two verges of the cloth's right side and connects at a point equal to one-third of the distance from that side.
The purpose of adding the pattern is to emphasize Artsakh as a separate state with a goal of reunion with Armenia. We may consider that in the flag, Artsakh is presented as an independent region of Armenia. The ratio of the flag is again 1:2.
Published September 30, 2018
Article by Vera Mirzoyan