Meaning of the Flag
Indonesia does not have an official meaning of its flag. There are theories and opinions, however, as to what the design of the flag represents. One example is that the colors of the flag represent courage and purity. Another theory is that the flag is representative of a human being: white represents the soul, while the red represents the actual human body.
Colors of the Flag
The colors of the Indonesian flag are red and white. It boasts a simple design, with an upper horizon band of red that is slightly smaller than the horizontal band of white below. As previously mentioned, there are different opinions as to why these colors were chosen. These colors, however, have always been used as ceremonial colors by Indonesians. This is done by mixing red sugar with white rice, which is a major component of the country’s cuisine. The flag is extremely similar to the national flag of Monaco, with only the dimension ratios being a differing factor.
History of the Flag
The flag was adopted on August 17, 1945 at the time of the Indonesian Declaration of Independence. The colors were taken from the banner of the Majapahit Empire, although the symbolism can be traced back to mythology. The Flag of the Netherlands, featuring bands of red, white and blue, was used from the 1600s through 1942. Later, the Flag of Imperial Japan was flown through 1942 through 1945. However, once the nation became independent of Dutch rule, the red and white flag was adopted and has been in use since that time.
Officially, the flag is known as the Sang Saka Merah-Puthi, which is translated to mean “lofty bicolor red and white.” It also has multiple other nicknames, including names that translate to mean “red and white flag” and “the bicolor.”
Traditionally, the Indonesian flag is only flown between sunrise and sunset. It can be flown at night under special circumstances.
The flag is required to be on display daily at government and private office buildings, as well as landmarks like the National Heroes Cemetery.
Citizens should also fly their flags on special days throughout the years, including National Education Day and Heroes Day.
The flag is also flown at half-mast on December 26 to remember the victims of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, three days after the death of government leaders and any other day of mourning designated by the Indonesian government.