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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The National Flag of Romania


The national flag of Romania is a tricolour: blue, yellow and red. It has not undergone many or major changes in the course of history. Only the distribution of the colours (in point of proportion and position) changed to a certain extent, being made equal after the Revolution of 1848 when, under the spur of the French revolutionary spirit, many states in Europe adopted as their national flag the dimensionally standardised three-colour banner. Sigillography attests that at certain historical stages, the Romanian flag had the three colours arranged horizontally with the red in the upper part, the yellow in the middle and the blue in the lower part. Also, the proportion of the colours was not the same as it is now (33 per cent for each colour). Basically, however, the three colours so dear to the Romanians are to be found in banners dating back to the time of Michael the Brave (rom: Mihai Viteazul) and even Stephen the Great (rom: Stefan Cel Mare). Moreover, recent research indicates that they existed even on the Dacian standard presented on Trajan's Column in Rome. This standard was of a special form: a bright metal wolf's head hanging from which were long coloured bands of cloth. As the wind blew, the standard gave a whiz that scared the enemy and encouraged those who carried it in battle. In critical moments, hiding the standard so that it should not be taken by the enemy was a custom common with several peoples, including therefore the Dacians, the Daco-Romans and the Romanians. Such a hidden standard was the one belonging to Tudor Vladimirescu, the leader of the 1821 revolution. When the revolution was stifled, Tudor's chieftains decided to bury the standard in a courtyard. Only 60 years later, in 1882, was the standard found, reconditioned and brought to Bucharest, the capital of the country, being deposited, in the framework of a special ceremony, at the Army House (today the Central Military Museum). The 1821 revolution Tudor Vladimirescu helped the country get rid of the Phanariot rulers imposed by the Ottoman Empire in Wallachia and Moldavia in the early 18th century (the Phanariot rulers came from the Phanar district of Constantinopole and were aliens imposed on the country by the Sultan as mere administrators).
The flag, the standard, the banner are profound symbols, connected to history, to the resistance of the people and the secret of their survival. The Romanian tricolour (the colours red, yellow and blue are to be found also in Romania's coat of arms) resisted, as a symbol, even after the advent of communism under Ceausescu in this country, when the entire heraldry of the USSR's satellites was reduced to a caricature.
In the course of time, poems and hymns were dedicated to the Romanian tricolour; one of these, Three Colours, on music by Ciprian Porumbescu, has been very mobilising and is one of the most liked by the Romanians. The flag of Romania has the colours placed vertically as follows: blue (hoist), yellow (in the middle) and red (fly). The width of each colour band is one-third of the length. The blue is cobalt, the yellow-chrome and the red-vermillion.

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