43c3e24a90458210VgnVCM200000e66411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2009-Q4Flags of the world33c3e24a90458210VgnVCM200000e66411ac____Flags of the worldOne aspect of flag selection that all countries have in common is the importance they attach to ensuring the symbol reflects their culture.<p><b>Unlike the UAE, many countries did not have competitions to choose their flag. In fact, in most cases, the citizens had no say in the matter; it was a governmental effort. However, one aspect of flag selection that all countries have in common is the importance they attach to ensuring the symbol reflects their culture.</b>
<p>A prime example of a flag reflecting the various cultures of a country. A quarter is white, three quarters green to represent the minorities and Muslim majority, respectively. The crescent stands for progress, and the star, for light and knowledge. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the identity of the flag's designer and the person responsible remains a mystery, with rows and revisions continuing to this day.
<p>The American flag constantly changed between 1771 and 1960. The flag we now know has 13 stripes and 50 stars, though it did not start off that way. The first edition of the flag had 13 red and white stripes to symbolise valour and purity, in that order, and 13 five-pointed stars to represent the original 13 colonies. With every new state a new star was added, until 1960 when Hawaii became the USA's 50th state. Of all the world's flags, America's probably has the most detailed recorded history, although the identity of the person responsible for designing it remains uncertain. However, many Americans believe that Elizabeth "Betsy" Ross designed the flag. As the story goes, in June 1776, George Washington, along with two representatives of Congress, appeared at Betsy's house and asked her to sew the flag from a sketch (Washington knew Betsy and was aware of her sewing skills because she would embroider his shirt ruffles). Her grandson's account of this story also includes Betsy changing the initial design of the flag and drawing five-pointed stars instead of six-pointed in the sketch, therefore making her the designer.
<p>The flag of the Philippines was designed with the country's independence in mind. It was created after the Spanish-American War in 1898 and the US promise of independence. The sun in the white triangle signifies the people's sense of self-determination and was designed by General Aguinaldo during his exile in Hong Kong. It is a unique flag in the sense that it was designed to be used in two ways: with the blue stripe facing upwards during times of peace, and the red stripe in times of war.
<p>One of the world's most recognisable flags, the Union Jack was designed in 1801 to represent the administrative union of the kingdom's three countries: England, Scotland and Ireland, and is based on a combination of their individual flags. Wales was not included as it was not considered a kingdom but a principality. Only Northern Ireland shares the Union Jack as it is the only part of Ireland that remained part of the United Kingdom after 1921.
<p>Its three colours - saffron, white and green - have literal meanings. The saffron signifies Hinduism, the green Islam, and the white shows the Indian people's hope for unity and peace. The "wheel of law", or <I>Ashoka Chakra</I>, in the centre of the flag was taken from the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the third century. Strangely enough, Hamburg, Germany, was the first place the flag was flown and recognised as that of India.
<p>The Canadian flag was designed in 1964 by Dr George Stanley. On a Friday afternoon late that year, the prime minister, Lester B Pearson, requested prototypes of three chosen flag proposals be prepared to take to his home for consideration the following day. These designs had to be sewed in just a few hours: because of the time crunch, one of the members of the flag-design team brought his daughter, Joan O'Malley, to sew the prototypes. She later said, "I may not have realised the importance of what I had been asked to do then." The red and white are the official colours that were proclaimed by King George V; the maple leaf in the centre is a symbol of Canada's natural environment.
<B>* Nadia El Dasher</B></p>