Unique Flag Shape
The unique shape of the Nepalese flag makes it stand out among its global counterparts. It is the only flag in the world that does not take a quadrilateral form. The Nepalese government provides strict guidelines about the shape of the flag and offers detailed descriptions of the flag, and how it should be drawn, in its constitution.
Though this flag may seem unusual by today’s standards, triangular-shaped flags were typical of Asian countries. The trend towards quadrilateral flags resulted from European influence during the time of the British Empire. While countries neighboring Nepal traded their triangular-shaped flags for rectangles, Nepal held firm to tradition and kept the triangular form.
Flag Design History
With a design that has lasted for thousands of years, the Nepal flag holds a variety of symbolic meanings. There are many religious elements to the flag; its original design was heavily influenced by Hinduism. Over the years the shape, colors and patterns of the flag have taken on new, and multiple, meanings.
A prime example of the varied meaning in the flag are the two vertical pennants that give the flag its unique shape. Some say the pennants symbolize the Ranas and the Shahs, two families that once ruled Nepal. Others say the pennants symbolize the Himalayan Mountains. The Nepalese government provides an official meaning: the two pennants represent Hinduism and Buddhism, the two major religions of Nepal.
Remarkable Flag Colors
In addition to the unique shape, the Nepal flag has remarkable colors: bright red bordered by a bold blue. Red is Nepal’s national color and references the red of the rhododendron found in the Himalayan Mountains. Red also represents victory and bravery. The bold blue bordering the red symbolizes peace and harmony.
Two images punctuate the fields of red: a crescent moon with eight, visible rays in the top pennant and a sun with twelve rays in the bottom pennant. The crescent moon signifies the coolness of the Himalayas and the serenity of the Nepalese people. The sun signifies the heat of lower Nepal and the tenacity of the Nepalese people. Taken together both images share the hope that the Nepalese kingdom lasts as long as the sun and the moon remain in the sky.
For many years the sun and moon had faces drawn in them. This changed in 1962, in an effort to modernize Nepal’s national flag.