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Kingdom of Nepal, Nepal Adhirajya

Last modified: 2002-07-13 by jonathan dixon
Keywords: nepal | star | crescent | triangle | asia |
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by Sammy Kanadi
Flag adopted 12 December 1962, coat of arms adopted 16 December 1962.

Meaning of the Flag

The flag of Nepal is the only national flag which is not rectangular, being based upon two separate pennants which belonged to rival branches of the Rana dynasty, which formerly ruled the country. The two pennants were first joined in the last century, but it was not adopted as the official flag until 1962, when a constitutional form of government was established.

The moon in the upper part represents the royal house. The sun in the lower part symbolizes a branch of the Rana family, members of which acted as prime ministers until 1961.

The charges are now said to represent the hope that Nepal itself will last as long as the sun and the moon. The style of these heavenly bodies was streamlined on December 16, 1962. The coat of arms still portrays these charges with facial features. Crimson is deemed the national color.

Motto on their coat of arms: "The mother and the Mother Earth are moreimportant than the heavenly kingdom."

SourcesBanderas y escudos del mundo (Flags and coats of arms of the world).Madrid: EASA (1986).
Flags. Philadelphia: Running Press (1994)
The Observer's Book of Flags. London: Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd. (1966)
Juan Vaquer, Jr., 25 February 1999

The faces were removed in 1962, I believe.
John Ayer, 30 September 2000

The other day I met a man who was from Nepal and he explained to me about the flag's meanings. The moon, he said, is supposed to represent quiet because Nepal is such a peaceful country and people are asleep during the night. And the sun is suppose to represent work because it is such a hard-working country and everyone is busy during the daytime. Interesting., 06 Dec 1999

History of the Flag

Prior to the adoption of the present national flag on Dec16 1962, flags with faces were used in Nepal:

Image based on Flaggenbuch:
[Old Nepali Flag] by Jaume Ollé, 27 June 2001

Image based on Flags of All Nations:
[Old Nepali Flag] by Jaume Ollé, 27 June 2001
Nozomi Kariyasu, 27 June 2001

Information on a more ancient representation of the Nepali flag can be found in M. Lupant's book:

The first reproduction of the Nepali flag found by M. Lupant is shown in a book published by Perceval Laundon in 1928 (Nepal, vol. 1, pp. 233-236, Constable, London). The flag was crimson with a green border. It was made of two superposed isoceles triangles. The two points could have symbolized the royalty and the Rana family. The moon symbolized the King and the sun symbolized the Rana family. Moon and Sun expressed the hope that the Nation shall live as long as them. The faces are both shown with ears and a symbol in the middle of the forehead (probably one of the coloured spots used by Hinduists, whose name I forget), and the face in the upper triangle has a small neck putting it above the moon.
Ivan Sache, 27 June 2001

Royal Standard

[Nepali Royal Standard] by Marcus Wendel

White bordered red flag with white lion holding a flag (that looks like an envelope) on a mast, moon and sun.

Zeljko Heimer 10 April 1996

The image sent by Marcus Wendel (obviously a scan of Smith's or Talocci's book) is wrong. According to the Nepalese Constitution (1990):


33. Royal Standard and Salute:

(1) Square in shape and crimson in colour having borders in white, the Royal standard is traditionally comprised of a crescent moon, in the upper corner near the flagstaff with eight out of sixteen rays shown in white colour, and a white sun with twelve white rays in the upper corner opposite to the flagstaff, and a white flag showing a six-angled figure and a sword in the middle of the standard with an upright white lion facing the flag with both its paws holding, and the right hind leg supporting, the flagstaff.

(2) The national anthem of Nepal is the Royal salute.

Source (inter alia):

Pascal Vagnat, 25 Aug 1999

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