Flag of Hungary

Flag of Hungary
Country Hungary
Population 10,156,239 (2023)
Area (Km²) 90,530 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇭🇺
  hex rgb
#CE2939 206, 41, 57
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255
#477050 71, 112, 80

The flag of Hungary, consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal width, red, white and green, starting from the top, was approved in its current form on May 23, 1957.

What is the significance of the Hungarian flag?

  • The red color is a symbol of strength;
  • white is a symbol of loyalty;
  • green is a symbol of hope.

There is also a historical explanation for the tricolor. Initially, this combination was depicted on shields and insignia of soldiers in battle, thus indicating their affiliation so that they would not confuse each other on the battlefield. The shields, usually made of wood, were covered with linen, leather or fur, and wealthy families even covered them with gold or silver. At first, green paint was rarely used because it did not stand out from the colors of the surrounding landscape. After a while, the symbols were used off the battlefield, especially the signs of victorious warriors. Over time, the colors acquired a universal meaning:

  • red symbolizes strength and blood;
  • white symbolizes loyalty, honesty and purity;
  • green symbolizes love and the earth. 

Who else uses the red, white, and green tricolor?

What flags is the Hungarian flag similar to?

The current Hungarian tricolor is the same flag of the British republican movement that has been used since 1816, and the colors have been used in this form at least since the coronation of Leopold II in 1790. In 1797, the Italian tricolor was first used on the flag of the Cispadan Republic. At that time, the flag consisted of three horizontal lines of red, white and green colors in the appropriate sequence and the coat of arms on a white stripe. The modern flag of Italy was adopted on June 18, 1946 and is still the first flag to officially use green, white and red. Apart from Italy, these colors are also used by Bulgaria. The Bulgarian flag has a different shade and sequence: white, green, red. The flag was first adopted after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, when Bulgaria gained de facto independence. The current flag was restored by the 1991 Constitution of Bulgaria and confirmed by a 1998 law.

History of the Hungarian flag

Perhaps everyone knows the famous painting by Alexander (Sandor) von Wagner (Hungarian artist, professor at the Munich Academy of Arts), which depicts Titus Dugovics (Hungarian: Dugovics Titusz), who performed a heroic act during the siege of Nandorfegervar (modern Belgrade). By sacrificing his own life, Titusz Dugovics prevented the janissaries from raising the Turkish flag, pulling the Turks away from the wall.

Some might think that the depiction of the Hungarian flag in the painting is already correct and authentic, but they are most likely wrong, as this siege of Nandorfegervár took place on July 21, 1456. Was the artist mistaken, or did Wagner commit an anachronism in 1859?
Ancient military historians, excellent experts in heraldry (coat of arms) and vexillology (flagology), give accurate descriptions. From them we know that the original color of the old Hungarian royal flag was red. Later, the red and white stripes of the Arpad coat of arms became the national colors. They were added to them only around the middle of the sixteenth century, and then in the second half of the sixteenth century, green was added as a third color. However, at that time it was not on the flag, but was only used in various decorations.

In 1681, these three colors were already called "pannonicus tricolor pannus" and appeared on the flag during the reign of Maria Theresa, but still not as a tricolor. The tricolor flag used today was developed under French influence in the early 19th century. The colors red, white, and green as the official national colors were only authorized by law during 1847-1848.

It follows that during the siege of Nandorfegervár in 1456, the tricolor Hungarian flag could not fly on the bastion's bow. In Sandor Wagner's painting, the Hungarian national tricolor in its current form is an anachronism (a temporal contradiction).

Anachronism (Greek: ἀναχρονισμὸς, from ἀνά- - contrary to, and χρόνος - time) is an image of something atypical or impossible in a certain time. It can be either a surviving relic of the past, a mistake in the depiction of historical events, or a deliberate artistic device. Often realized as an object or person from a later era existing in an earlier time. It can also mean being out of time or the prolonged use of motifs, tropes, and devices in artistic works without their development.

Source - "Anachronism" in Wikipedia

The Hungarian flag in its current form was approved by the parliament in April 1848, but it was still considered a forbidden symbol for the next 19 years. The tricolor Hungarian flag has been officially used in Hungary since 1867, the year of settlement, the year the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was founded.