Volume 8 Issue 1 Spring-Summer 2023
By Austin Shinn
requently, the flags of countries depict a symbol of the country. The Canada flag has a maple leaf. The South Korea flag features the yin-yang symbol. Countless flags have stars. But one of the most distinctive symbols on any world flag must be the dragon at the center of Bhutan’s flag.
Why a dragon? The dragon reflects Bhutan’s name Druk Yul which means Dragon Country in the country’s official language of Dzongkha. It also reflects the name of the country’s head of state, the dragon king or “druk gyalpo.” The dragon’s white color reflects purity of thought while the fierce expression of the dragon symbolizes the protection by Bhutanese deities.
The flag of Bhutan has a relatively brief history. It was first adopted in 1949 with a design credited to Mayum Choying Wangmo Dorji.
The flag originally depicted a very faint green dragon in a more horizontal position with the color changed to white in 1956 and the dragon moved to its current position in the 1960s. Finally, the flag’s field colors changed from yellow and red to yellow and orange by decade’s end.
The official Bhutan flag depicts a white dragon, or “druk”, in the center of the flag holding a jewel in each of its four claws, symbolizing the wealth and security of the Bhutanese people. The white dragon sits in a diagonal yellow and orange field. The yellow symbolizes civil authority while orange symbolizes the Buddhist traditions of the country. Druk’s placement in the center symbolizes the equal value of both. The flag has a 2:3 proportion.
The flag of Bhutan is one of the most unique world flags with its bold and distinctive roaring dragon.
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