Everyone who travels Nepal is bound to hear at least once from either a Nepali or foreigner, “Did you know that Nepal’s flag is the only one in the world without a rectangular shape?” It is something that Nepali people are very proud of and foreigners are eager to share with others. What both Nepalese and foreigners may not know is why!
It is said that long ago, many regions had flags with different shapes. It was actually European ships that started the trend of rectangular shaped flags for their ships, as this fit best on the masts and the customary cloth used to make the flags was cut into rectangular shapes. These, in turn, gave way to flags for regions/territories conquered by the European countries. After the much later liberation of most of the countries conquered by European countries, most kept at least the given rectangular shape of their flags created by their conquerors. It is another prideful fact that Nepal was never conquered, and thus, kept their original pendant-shaped flag.
The reason there are 2 pendants goes back to the ruling Rana dynasty. The upper moon pendant represents the Royal house, while the lower part represents the members of the Rana family that acted as Prime Ministers. The two pendants were joined in 1962, when the official Nepali flag was created, along with the constitutional form of government. It is said that this flag is the representation of the hope that Nepal will at last live in unity. The credit for the creation of the modern flag is documented as being given to King Prithvi Narayan Shah.
The color “crimson,” or red, in the flag is both the national color and said to represent the bravery of Nepali people and is also the color of luck in Hinduism. The blue colored outline in the flag is said to represent knowledge, honesty, and tranquillity. The use of the Sun and Moon are generally thought to give the same meanings—the Sun coinciding with red and the Moon with blue. The motto on the coat of arms for Nepal is: “The mother and the Mother Earth are more important than the heavenly kingdom.”
Nepal’s flag is based on unity, pride, respect, and passion—may we not forget this in the current time of political strife in Nepal—Unify.