The flag of Peru was officially adopted on February 25, 1825. The flag is divided into three vertical sections: two red sections on the left and right sides and a white center section with the coat of arms in the center. The colors of the flag were chosen by Jose de San Martin, “The Liberator,” and also symbolize the Incas and their influence on Peru’s culture.
This flag is the state flag or national ensign, and is only used by state institutions during ceremonies. Peruvian citizens may use the national flag of Peru or civil flag, which contains only the red and white vertical stripes and does not feature the coat of arms.
The coat of arms is divided into thirds and contains pictures of a llama, a cinchona tree, and a cornucopia. The llama is a common pack animal in Peru with deep cultural significance. Before Incans resided in Peru, the Moche people would often offer llamas and llama body parts as offerings for the afterlife in burials of important people. During the Incan empire, llamas served as both pack and herding animals, and they continued to be buried with the dead. The Incan god Urcuchillay was also depicted as a multicolored llama.
The cinchona tree is native to Peru and is used for many medical remedies including treating malaria, killing parasites, relieving pain and fever, regulating heartbeat, and killing bacteria and fungi. The cornucopia universally symbolizes abundance.
During the flag raising, Peruvians sing the Marcha de Banderas, or March of Flags, written in 1897 by Jose Salas Libornio. The lyrics are as follows:
Long live, long live, long live Peru
and to its glorious immortal ensign
always carried aloft
the national flag.
They carry it with glory and honor,
Peruvian heroes with invincible ardor.
Up, up whenever the national flag.
This is the flag of Peru,
of white and red,
as a flame of love,
in Ayacucho and Junín
it dawned victorious with the
sun of Liberty.