Thailand Flag – Everything You Need To Know

Thailand Flag

Just like any other countries’ flag, there is more to the Thailand flag than meets the eye. There is a deeper meaning and historical tales behind that piece of cloth swaying in the air. Any country will spend hours of labor and a vast amount of money designing a particular flag simply because it plays a significant role to their men and country.

History and Evolution of the Thailand Flag

Among the many flags in the world, the Thailand flag is said to be one of the most distinct flags despite its very simple appearance. This is because of the interesting history behind it, particularly the evolution of its appearance – from the first Thailand Flag up to its current look today.

The first known Thailand Flag is said to be a plain red flag. Based on historic records, the plain red flag that represented Thailand was used during the reign of King Narai the Great of the Ayudhya Era to Thonburi and Ratanakosin. It was seen on merchant ships trading with other nations overseas. However, not all historians were convinced that the first Thailand Flag was a plain red. William Crampton, a British vexillologist (flag expert), believed that the very first flag was a red flag with a white chakra on the center. A chakra is a Buddhist wheel or circle that represents the Cycle of Rebirth. It is believed that the chakra inside the flag represented the Chakri Dynasty. As years passed, another alteration was made in 1802 by King Rama II. A white elephant was added to the center of the chakra. That animal was an emblem of the Royal family, a symbol of royal power, and had something to do with the mythological origin of the founding dynasty of Thailand. The elephant also symbolized the bow of his vessels. In 1851, King Rama IV decided to remove the wheel to increase the flag’s visibility.

During a flood, King Rama VI saw a Thailand Flag in an upside down position. It really frustrated the King so he immediately decreed that the flag be changed into a design where the same mistake could not happen. Thus, in September 28, 1917, the new Thailand Flag – a symmetrical one – was used. It has three horizontal shapes of white, blue, and red colors. In this new Thailand Flag, the colors represented the Religion, the King, and the Nation. It was named Thong Trairong or Triangara.

Symbols and Meaning of the Thailand Flag

As the Thong Trairong or Triangara became the official national Thailand Flag, the three colors represented a strong symbolism that Thai people believed and respected. The red stripes symbolize the blood shed to keep the independence of the country. The white color symbolizes purity as well as Buddhism’s color which was the country’s principal religion. The blue color represents the Monarchy and is also Thailand’s national color. These three colors also honors the country’s allies during World War II. Countries like Russia, Great Britain, United States, and France also have these colors in their respective national flags.

Description of the Thailand Flag

The evolution of the Thailand Flag finally ended with five horizontal bands of red on top, white, blue that’s double the width, white, and then red again. The shape and flag ratio is described as 2:3 (length one 1/2 times the height). The left half of the flag which is seen from the viewer’s side is called the Hoist while the right half of the flag is called the Fly. The upper left quarter of the flag is called the Canton.

Thailand Flag Protocols and Rules

Just like any other country, there are several Thailand Flag protocols and rules that are strictly carried out and must always be followed. Some of these rules are also followed by other countries with respect to their own flag. They are the following:

  • Rules relating to the order of precedence for the flags.
  • The alphabetical order is used by the United Nations when presenting a national flag. This is to ensure that no country’s flag holds precedence over another country’s flag.
  • To avoid any impressions of the superiority or inferiority of one flag or nation over another, the Thailand Flag should not be flown above another national flag on the same staff.
  • The Thailand Flag should never be dragged down to the ground.
  • Remove any tattered or faded Thailand Flag and replace it with a new one.
  • Prompt care and handling must always be observed to ensure that the Thailand Flag is always placed correctly on the way up.
  • If a Thailand Flag is no longer fit to be used as an emblem of display, it should be disposed in a dignified way preferably through burning in private with all due respect.