October 30, 2009
The Chilean flag is often referred to in Spanish as la estrella solitaria (the lone star) because of the fact that it bears a single, five-pointed star. The star represents a guide to honor and progress, while the field of blue that surrounds it is meant to symbolize the Chilean sky and the Pacific Ocean. The white and red portions of the flag represent the magnificent snow-covered Andes and the Chilean blood spilled during the fight for independence.
However, as is often the case, Chile’s flag has undergone a few changes over the years. In fact, the first Chilean flag looked nothing like its modern-day counterpart, as it consisted of three horizontal stripes that were blue, white and yellow respectively. This initial Chilean flag was created during the country’s struggle for independence, when the government of José Miguel Carrrera ordered that it be created. The flag was raised for the first time on July 4, 1812, at a banquet celebrating the independence of the United States. Apparently, the American Revolution had greatly influenced Chileans and motivated them in the struggle for independence.
The second Chilean flag was adopted after the triumph of Chacabuco on May 28, 1817. It was called la Bandera de la Transición (the Flag of the Transition). La Bandera de la Transición was very similar the first Chilean flag, simply replacing the yellow horizontal stripe with a red one. Juan Gregorio Las Heras is credited with designing it, but the colors themselves originate in the verses of a poet named Alonso de Ercilla. Blue, white and red were also the colors of the French Revolution, which, like the American Revolution, inspired Chileans. However, la Bandera de la Transición was never actually made official and it simply disappeared after about five months.
The disappearance of la Bandera de la Transición cleared the way for Chile’s current flag, la estrella solitaria, to be adopted. The flag itself was conceived by a man named José Ignacio Zenteno and designed by Antonio Arcos, although some Chileans claim that Gregorio de Andía y Varela actually drew it up. The flag was made official on Oct. 18, 1817, but it wasn’t until 1854 that the official proportions of each color were set, while the star’s diameter didn’t become official until 1912. Many people consider the Chilean national flag to be one of the world’s most beautiful; it’s even rumored that the Chilean flag actually won a “Most Beautiful National Flag in the World” contest in Belgium.
October 29, 2009
The flag of Afghanistan underwent more changes during the 20th century than any other flag in the world. By my count, the design of the flag was change some twenty times in that time period. Since 2000 it has been modified three more times. The first of these flags, flown under the rule Abdur Rahman Khan, was completely black. Today’s Afghanistan flag, on the other hand, consists of three stripes and the emblem of Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan flag’s colors – black, red and green – are meant to represent different chapters in the nation’s history. Black represents the 19th century, when a series of wars led to British occupation. Red represents the Afghans fight for independence, and green is meant to show that independence has been achieved. These colors were also part of the Afghanistan flag from 1928 to 1978, running either vertically or horizontally. Back then, black represented the previous monochrome version of Afghan flags, which in turn represented the sovereign. It’s believed that the red was taken from the Soviet flag and meant to represent modernity and progress. Green stood for Islam.
The emblem of Afghanistan, which is found at the center of the current design, consists of several things. At the very top of the emblem, one finds the Shahadah. The Shahadah is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as his prophet. Depending on whom you ask, in English it more or less reads, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” Below the Shahadah, there’s an image of a mosque with its mihrab facing Mecca. A mihrab is a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the direction of the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building in the city of Mecca, and hence the direction all Muslims should pray. Two flags are also attached to the mosque, which are taken to be Afghanistan flags. Below the mosque is an Arabic inscription stating the name of the nation.
October 28, 2009
The World Series is set to begin tonight with the New York Yankees squaring off against the Philadelphia Phillies in what promises to be one of the greatest Fall Classics in recent memory. The Phils are reigning world champs, their lineup is solid, and they’ve got the ace of their pitching staff, Cliff Lee, going in Game 1. In the other dugout, the Yankee lineup is equally as strong, if not more so, especially since Alex Rodriguez has started earning his pay checks by actually hitting in the post season.
With the exceptions of 1904 and 1994, the World Series has been played every year since 1903. The Yanks have won twenty-six championships in that time, while the Phils have won just two. The name “World Series” is derived from the term “World’s Championship Series,” which was used until the early 1900s. The Series is normally decided by a best-of-seven playoff, but in 1903, 1919, 1920 and 1921 the winner was determined by a best-of-nine playoff. At the end of it all, when it’s all said and done, the winners are awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy as well as World Series rings. The winning team also gets a larger portion of the gate receipt than the loser.
Whether you plan on cheering for the Yankees of Phillies this year, there’s no better way of doing so than with a beautiful MLB flag. 3’ x 5’ Yankees and Phillies flags made from 100 percent printed polyester are available at the United States Flag Store. These flags would look great inside or outside your home and make great gifts for any true baseball fan. A New York Yankees embroidered yard and wall pennant is also available. Pick yours up today, and don’t forget to watch the game tonight!