Flag of Hungary

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Image:Flag of Hungary 1940.svg
Image:FIAV 010000.svgHungarian flag with current official Hungarian coat of arms. Legal whenever an person or institution is elegible to use the official coat of arms by law (such, e.g. MPs, members of government, ministries,...).
Image:Flag of Hungary (1957-1989).png
The Hungarian flag from 1957-1989 officially never included the Kádár coat of arms, however it was often depicted so.
Image:Hungarian Revolution Flag of 1956.gif
The flag, from which the Rákosi coat of arms has been cut out became the symbol of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
Image:Flag of Hungary 1949-1956.gif
Hungarian flag 1949-1956, bearing the unpopular stalinist Rákosi coat of arms
Image:Hungary flag 1867.png
Hungarian flag 1867-1918, i.e. while part of Austria-Hungary.

The flag of Hungary is a horizontal tricolour of red, white and green. In this exact form, it has been the official flag of Hungary since 1957.


[edit] Origin

Today's flag of Hungary stems from the national freedom movement before 1848 which climaxed in the 1848/49 revolution, which was not only a revolution against the monarchy and to constitute a republic, but also a national movement against the Habsburgs. Thus, the tricolour feature of the flag is based on the French flag and the ideas of French revolution, while the colours red, white and green were taken from the historical coat of arms. The coat of arms first appeared in the form, which is but for minor details basically the same as nowadays in the mid-15th century, marshalled from arms that first appeared in the late-12th and early-13th century as arms of the Árpáds, Hungary's founding dynasty.

As a conclusion, the Hungarian flag has its origins in the national republican movements of the 18th-19th century (concerning its form, the tricolour), and in the Hungary of the Middle Ages, (concerning it's colours).

Folklore of the romantic period attributed the colours to virtues: red for strength, white for faithfulness and green for hope. Alternatively, red for the blood spilled for the fatherland, white for freedom and green for the land, for the pastures of Hungary.

[edit] Historical flags of Hungary

As described above, the red-white-green tricolour has emerged as sign of national souverenity during the 1848/49 revolution against the Habsburgs. After the revolution was successfully defeated, the flag was prohibited by the Austrian Emperor.

Only after the Compromise of 1867 did the red-white-green tricolour became not only legal, but also the official flag of Hungary. The flag had the so called minor arms of Hungary with archeangels as supporters were used as a badge on the flag. This configuration was used until the end of the Habsburg Empire in 1918.

After the fall of the Habsburg Empire the years 1918 to 1920 were highly turbulent, and several hard-to-trace minor changes might have taken place. Basically, the red-green-white tricolour had stayed the same for sure, differences might have occurred in terms of the badge. A short interlude and exception was the 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic, which lasted only about 100 days: they used the solid red banner. (Include information, if you have exact ones, on this period).

It seems, that from 1920-1944 or 1945 the tricolour with the minor arms of Hungary, but without supporters was used. (citation needed).

Between 1946 and 1949 the crown from top of the arms serving as the badge was removed.

In 1949 the new Stalinist Hungarian arms were placed on the flag as the badge.

During the anti-Soviet uprising in 1956, revolutionaries cut out the Stalinist emblem and used the resulting tricolor with a hole in the middle as the symbol of the revolution. For some months the new government changes the flag to bear the minor arms without the crown as the badge again.

After the revolution was defeated by the Soviet Red Army, during the communist restoration, in 1957 the communists created a "new" (maybe a bit less offending) coat of arms but it was never officially put onto the flag of Hungary. Therefore the official flag of Hungary has been a pure red-white-green tricolour since 1957.

After the fall of communism in 1989 there was no need to change the flag, as it did not bear any communist insignia.

There was a recommendation of the Committee of Symbols some years ago, that the coat of arms should be part of the state flag, while the national flag should not (as is the status quo). This has legally not been implemented, though in case of most state use the arms might be used on the flag (see below).

[edit] Exact description

The constitution does not state anything about the width:length ratio of the flag. However, (According to FOTW, see at External Links) there is a law from 1957 which still seems to be valid and says, that sea-going merchant vessels shall hoist the red-white-green tricolour in 2:3 ratio.

By a government decree from 2000, the ratio (which is neither defined in the Constitution, nor the 1995 or 2000 law (see External Links)) of flags used on government building is 1:2.

This would give us:

  • Image:FIAV 100000.svg Basically red-white-green tricolour. A lot of variations might be used though according to 1995/LXXXIII §11 (3) "(3) In cases specified in paragraphs (1) and (2), the arms and the flag can be used also in their historical forms." - 1995/LXXXIII §11 (1) "(1) For the purpose of declaring the pertainance to the nation, private persons can use the arms and the flag, keeping the limitations contained in this law."
  • Image:FIAV 010000.svg red-white-green tricolour, ratio 1:2 (by decree from 2000). According to 1995/LXXXIII §11 (4) the official coat of arms of Hungary might be placed onto it as a badge.
  • Image:FIAV 001000.svg White backgound with green red alternated flammulette ("flame tongues", triangles with wavy edge) border, coat of arms in the center, embraced by oak-branches from the left, olive branches from the right. Ratio not defined. ( 1995/LXXXIII §8 (1) )
  • Image:FIAV 000100.svg 2:3 (ratio defined by 1957 law) red-white-green tricolour (there is a merchant fleet)
  • Image:FIAV 000010.svg ?? (could not find applying legislation; Hungary has no sea coast, and as to my knowledge no state vessel, so...)
  • Image:FIAV 000001.svg White backgound with green red alternated triangle border, coat of arms at 1/3 of the flag, nearer to the pole. Ratio not defined to my best knowledge. ( 1995/LXXXIII §8 (2) )

[edit] External links

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