A flag is a piece of colored fabric or material that is used as a symbol, or for sending a signal. People use flags to give others information. Some flags are used only for decoration. Usually, flags are messages from a person or a group of people.
People have used flags for over 4,000 years. First type of flags were called Vexilloids, This word comes from a Latin word which means “guide”) shown on ancient Greek coins, Egyptian tomb carvings, etc. They were metal or wooden poles with carvings on top. About 2,000 years ago, pieces of fabric or material were added to some vexilloids for decoration. These looked more like the flags we know today.
The colors found in flags have special meanings:
Red – danger, revolution, bloodshed of war, courage, power
White – peace, surrender, truce
Orange- courage, sacrifice
Green – safety, land, youth, hope
Yellow – caution, gold
Black – mourning, death
One flag that almost everyone knows is the “White Flag of Surrender”. Waiving a white flag is the international sign for surrender. Another well known flag is the “Jolly Roger”, used by pirates to frighten people. These flags usually had a black background which stood for “no quarter” or “no mercy will be shown to those who resist.”
The five circles of the Olympic flag represent the coming together of people from five continents in friendly competition. Peace is the message of the olive branches cradling the world in the flag of the United Nations.
On sad occasions, flags are flown at half-mast to honor the dead, and draped over the coffins of national heroes.