The flag of Indonesia is a red and white horizontal bicolor with red on top and white on bottom. The flag’s ratio is 2:3 height to length. The two segments, red and white, are of equal size. Indonesians generally refer to their flag as Sang Merah-Putih (The Red and White), which is how it is also referred to in their constitution.
Red and white appear in the flags of many nations in Oceana and Southeast Asia. The colors are generally believed to originate in the ancient mythology of these regions with red representing Mother Earth and white representing Father Sky. Many early kingdoms in Southeast Asian used red and white, including the 13th century Majapahit Empire.
Some regional scholars have also suggested that red was used in earlier times because it was one was the first natural dyes discovered in the region. The dye comes from the leaves of the native teak plant, certain flowers, or the skin of the mangosteen fruit. This makes red a practical color for many applications, including the creation of a highly visible state symbol like the flag.
More specific to Indonesia, the modern symbolism of these colors represent blood/courage and soul/purity of intention. This comes from the Indonesian struggle for independence from Dutch colonial rule from about 1945 to 1950. During the period of strife, many Indonesians tore the blue stripe from the Dutch colonial flag, creating the recognizable bicolor of the Indonesian flag.
However, the use of the red and white flag dates back to 1928, when it was first used to protest colonial rule in Java. From that time until independence in 1947, the Indonesia flag was banned by the Dutch.
The original version of the Indonesia flag was sewn by Fatmawati Soekarno. It was previously hoisted on a yearly basis at the presidential palace during the independence day celebrations. This flag was displayed for the last time on August 17, 1968. Since that year, the flag has been preserved. A replica is used for the ceremony now. The original is in the Independence Room of the National Monument.
The flag has been unchanged since 1950, when Indonesia became independent and adopted the current flag as the official symbol of their nation.