The flags of Vietnam are all interesting with a particular history. It is the Vietnamese heritage and beliefs that have shaped these flags which all represent a symbol. It is always curious to know more about flags, especially the flags of Vietnam.
The official flag of Vietnam
Today, the red flag with a five-pointed yellow star in the middle is used throughout Vietnam. The five branches of the yellow star represent the five main classes of the country’s society involved in the construction of socialism (intellectuals, peasants, soldiers, workers, businessmen), while yellow is the color of the Vietnamese people, red recalls the bloodshed and revolutionary struggle of the Vietnamese people.
In the last centuries, Vietnamese emperors have mainly used yellow, while it was the imperial color of the Ching Dynasty in China. A flag similar to the current official flag was first used by North Vietnam in 1940. South Vietnam used a yellow flag with three red stripes for 2 years and then a red and blue flag with a yellow star.
This Vietnamese flag was officially adopted in 1976 when Vietnam was unified.
The flag of the Communist Party of Vietnam (The Red Party flag with yellow hammer and sickle)
The yellow hammer and sickle, tools of the peasants and workers, appear on the red background of the flag of the Communist Party of Vietnam. It symbolizes the union between agricultural and industrial workers. You can see this flag in front of the administrative buildings of the country next to the official flag of the country.
There are various variations on the sickle and hammer. The Korean Labor Party uses a hammer, a sickle, and a paintbrush as its symbol. A hammer and hoe appear on the flag of the People’s Republic of the Congo.
The colors of the flag symbolize the five elements (metal-white, wood-green, water-black/dark blue, fire-red, earth-yellow) which are the basis of the universe according to Chinese philosophy. The colorful flags are used in village festivals, traditional religious sites or any other Vietnamese historical sites and traditional events. These similar flags are used during festivals with the Vietnamese Buddhist flag.This flag is known as “cờ ngũ sắc” (five-colored flag) or “cờ ngũ hành” (five element flag).
There are variations of colors depending on the ideas of the users (or manufacturers). Another variant with alternating black and white stripes is used at funerals (at home/in the neighborhood)
The Vietnamese Buddhist Flag
The Vietnamese Buddhist flag has five vertical stripes of blue, yellow, red, white, and orange and five horizontal stripes of the same color.
These five colors represent the five sources of perfection essential to Buddhist practice. Blue, the symbol of meditation; light yellow, for “right-thinking”; red, for spiritual energy; white, for “purity”; orange, for wisdom, is a composite of the previous four colors.
This flag was accepted as the international Buddhist flag by the World Buddhist Congress in 1952. It is used throughout the world and in nearly 60 countries during Buddhist festival periods, especially during Vesak celebrations.
The Buddhist flag as a whole symbolizes the unity of Buddhists and signifies the indivisibility of all sentient beings regardless of race, nationality, class, color, etc.