Friday, March 16, 2012

Flag Day: Palau



Wow, it's Friday again already? I have to admit, though, that the first three days of this week seemed to crawl by. The the last two have flown, and I am really excited for this week's Flag Day—even though you might be thinking "psshhh! this flag looks so simple & lame!" Keep in mind that not everything has to be complicated to be cool and/or beautiful, fools. And furthermore, I learned while researching this flag that my assumptions about its symbolism were one hundred percent wrong.

Today's flag comes from the island nation of Palau, located in the Pacific Ocean about 500 miles east of the Philippines. Palau is awesome for many reasons, but here's one you probably don't know: they established the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009. It is illegal to kill sharks in their waters. Go Palau!

Palau (Source: Wikipedia)
I always had assumed that this flag was fairly straightforward: that the blue represented the Pacific Ocean, and the yellow disc slightly off-center was both an homage to the sun and the island's status as a ... well, island, in the middle of said ocean. I was really surprised to find that I was wrong!

Rather than representing the Pacific, the blue in this flat represents a transition from a foreign-owned territory to an independent nation; and the yellow disc actually represents a full moon, not the sun! Evidently, in Palau the full moon is when all kinds of activity takes place, spiritual and traditional and agricultural (picture fishing in a canoe under the tropical moonlight ... yeah, that sounds amazing). The moon is also a symbol of love, peace and tranquility, all good things to promote when your nation becomes independent.

I would love to visit Palau someday. It helps that these are my favorite colors, but more than that, merely looking at this flag gives me a good, calm, serene, confident feeling.

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