Flag of Lithuania

Flag of Lithuania
Country Lithuania
Population 2,718,352 (2023)
Area (Km²) 62,674 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇱🇹
  hex rgb
#FFB81C 255, 184, 28
#046A38 4, 106, 56
#BE3A34 190, 58, 52

One of Lithuania's main symbols, the national flag, has been around for more than a century. Many people can easily name all three colors: yellow, green and red, but not everyone knows their meaning.

What do the colors of the Lithuanian flag symbolize?

  • Yellow is associated with the sun, prosperity and light;
  • Green symbolizes green fields and meadows, the beauty of nature, freedom and hope;
  • Red is associated with courage and blood shed for the Motherland.

The first flag had only green and red colors, but later yellow was added. The red color symbolizes all Lithuanians who died for their country. After World War II, Lithuania became part of the Soviet Union and lost its national symbols. The tricolor was banned, but around 1988, people began to display the flag again at rallies and gatherings. On January 13, 1991, the day of the defense of Lithuanian freedom, hundreds of tricolors appeared on the streets. Lithuanian flags became a symbol of hope and faith. The first official funeral of thirteen freedom fighters is also remembered, where flags were used to cover the coffins. The red color has acquired a special significance.

As mentioned earlier, the yellow color was added last. It looks unnatural, as it symbolizes the sun, which is mostly absent in the country. Lithuania is located in the northern hemisphere and suffers from a lack of sunlight, which leads to physical and mental health problems. The color green is considered more appropriate for Lithuania, symbolizing fertile fields and forests. Lithuania is a strong agricultural country, so the green color reflects the essence of the country well. Lithuanian agriculture is actively supported by the European Union, which invests in this sector. In addition, Lithuanian forests are among the best in the world thanks to the work of professional foresters.

To summarize, the flag should reflect the nature of Lithuania and its centuries-old historical experience. The creators of the national flag debated the order of the colors and what they should mean. According to one of the creators, the red color should have been at the very top and represent the rising sun, while yellow, symbolizing the yellow flower, should have been in the middle.

History of the Lithuanian flag

The national flag of Lithuania consists of three horizontal stripes: yellow, green and red. This version of the flag appeared late, after the French Revolution, when tricolor flags were introduced to symbolize the principles of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity." In many European countries, national flags had a tricolor design, but with different colors that symbolized national symbols. An important stage in the history of the national colors of Lithuania was the creation of the union between Lithuania and Poland, which was supported by the democratically-minded nobility. However, the second stage included the work of Lithuanian intellectuals to restore national consciousness and the desire to create an independent Lithuanian state. This contributed to the establishment of the modern Lithuanian national flag.
The first known source about the national colors of Lithuania dates back to the Tadeusz Kostiushko uprising in 1794. The Supreme Council chose blue and green as the national symbol, and the military, wearing hats with blue and green cockades attached, expressed a sense of national unity. Later, a discussion arose about the national colors of Lithuania and Poland during the 1830-1831 uprising. Some suggested blue, white, and crimson, while others stubbornly advocated white or white and yellow. In this situation, the government decided that the national colors should correspond to the colors of the troops of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, i.e. white and dark. However, this debate continued, especially on the part of the historian Joachim Lelewel, who accused the government of trying to link these colors to the aristocracy and the monarchy. In 1863, the national colors of red, blue, and white were used. After the uprisings were suppressed, a new Lithuanian intellectual group began its activities.

The formation of the Lithuanian national movement in Russian-occupied Lithuania was complicated by the ban on the Lithuanian press. The flags that were to gain national status were first adopted abroad. One of the oldest flags was the green, white, and red Maltese flag of Lithuania. In the second half of the 19th century, multicolored flags appeared, such as white and blue, white and red and blue, red and yellow and blue, and others. The variety of flags is explained by the lack of a single unifying center in the Lithuanian national movement. In 1905, the Lithuanian Congress in Vilnius held a debate on the choice of a national flag, and although the flag of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was proposed, the Congress decided that the red color could cause associations with the revolution. The search for a national flag lasted until 1917, when it was decided to add yellow and change the design of the flag.

History of the Lithuanian flag

In the early 20th century, Lithuania resolved the issue of the national flag. In 1918, a three-striped flag with a possible image of a knight was established and approved by the Lithuanian Council. However, the Constitution was later approved, which did not include a knight on the flag, and the red flag with a knight was declared illegal. After the Second World War, in 1940, the red flag was replaced with a red, white, and green flag. However, in 1988, the tricolor symbolizing Lithuania became popular again and it was decided to return it to the flag of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1989, the colors of the national flag were finally approved - yellow, green and red, symbolizing the sun, nature and land of Lithuania.