Flag of Indonesia

Flag of Indonesia

Indonesia gained its independence from the Dutch colonizers on the 17th of August 1945. The Dutch recognized Indonesia’s independence on December 27, 1945. It was former President Soekarno who hoisted the hand-sewn flag with a bamboo pole as the flagstaff in the midst of declining Japanese occupation forces on August 17, 1945 in Pegangsaan Oost 56 in Djakarta. Despite the absence of the pomp and splendor on that day, the physically liberated Indonesians were full of hope after being to drive away the colonizers.

Soekarno and all the witnesses of that historic day felt proud to finally see the flag of Indonesia that they could call their own after three and a half centuries of Dutch colonization. Together with the flag raising, the Indonesians and Soekarno himself sang an acapella of “Indonesia Raya”.

The flag of Indonesia uses only two colors: red and white, which are traditionally renowned in all of Indonesia as sacred colors. Red is positioned horizontally on top while white lies below it. The colors have several meanings but the generally accepted representation of red is the “human blood” that stands for concreteness while white symbolizes the soul. In other meanings, red resembles the color of sugar it comes from the palm, sugar and white is the color of rice. Sugar and rice are vital staples of Indonesian daily lives.

Literally, red and white in Indonesian are “Merah and Putih” but the flag of Indonesia was given an official name, Sang Saka Merah Putih, as indicated in Article 25 of the Indonesian 1945 Consitution. Shortly after Indonesia declared its independence, the locals tore the Dutch flag to symbolize resistance and took the blue color (which to them stood for blue blooded that they wanted thrown out).

The flag of Indonesia was designed after the banner of the 13th century Majapahit Empire in Indonesia, which were stripes of red and white. In 1922, the Indonesian students studying in Leiden in The Netherlands designed a flag with red on top of white with the head of a bull (or banteng) to represent their association. Six years later, the Partai Nasional Indonesia hoisted the same flag during a student congress held in Batavia, the modern-day Jakarta.

Today, the flag of Indonesia stands on the Presidential Palace, in government edifices, schools, and in international Indonesian missions. The first flag that Soekarno used when independence was declared was hoisted for the last time during the commemoration of Independence Day in 1968. Since then, a replica of the flag of Indonesia was carefully woven from Indonesian silk.
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