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The Mexican Flag

History and Meaning of the Mexican Flag

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Mexican Flag

Mexican Flag

Image courtesy of the CIA's The World Factbook

Mexico's Flag

The Mexican flag consists of three vertical bands in green, white and red, with the Mexican coat of arms (which portrays an eagle on a prickly pear cactus with a snake in its beak and talons) in the center of the white band. The flag's proportion is 4:7.

The flag, along with the Mexican Coat of Arms (escudo nacional) and the National Anthem, is considered one of the símbolos patrios, "patriotic symbols" of Mexico.

History and Meaning of the Mexican Flag

Mexico's flag as it is today was adopted in 1968, though a very similar flag had been in use since 1821. Originally the green represented independence, white represented religion and red the union of Americans and Europeans, but during the secularization of the country under President Benito Juarez (president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872) the meanings of the colors were adapted to represent hope (green), unity (white) and the blood of the national heroes (red).

The Mexican Coat of Arms

The Mexican Coat of Arms is taken from an Aztec legend which recounts the way in which the Aztecs came to choose the site where they built their capital city of Tenochtitlan (where Mexico City stands today). The Aztecs, also known as the Mexica ("meh-shee-ka"), were a nomadic people traveling from the north of the country. Their leader was informed in a dream by the god of war, Huitzilopochtli, that they were to settle in the place where they would find an eagle on a prickly pear cactus holding a serpent. The place where they saw this sight was quite inhospitable - a swampy area in the center of three lakes, but this is where they settled and built the great city of Tenochtitlan.

Protocol

When the Mexican flag is displayed, Mexicans stand at attention with their right arm placed in a salute over their chests with the palm facing downward.

Flag Day

February 24 is Flag Day in Mexico, and it is celebrated with civic ceremonies honoring the Mexican Flag.

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