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The National Symbols of Hungary

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National symbols play a significant role in the life of the people of a country. Not only do they represent historical continuity, but strengthen the national identity of the inhabitants as well. It is the Constitution of the Republic of Hungary, which decides upon the proper use of the national symbols, among others the Holy Crown or the National Anthem. The most important symbols, however, are the coat of arms and the flag.

The coat of arms: The historical coat of arms reinstated in 1990 has had numerous versions so far, each of which reflects a change of fortune in national history. At different times various rulers used the coat of arms and transformed it as symbols of their families or power. The socalled .crowned, lesser coat of arms. used today, consists of a pointed, impaled shield, the constituent parts of which reach back to ancient cultures. The left-hand side has a barry of eight, gules (red) and argent (silver). The other side has a gules field with a patriarchal cross argent rising from a crown (gold) on a triple mound vert (green). The shield is ensigned with the Holy Crown. The components of the coat of arms were represented individually, on separate shields first. The oldest component, the patriarchal cross, became a national symbol some 800 years ago. It first appeared towards the end of the 12th century, on the coins of King Béla III. The triple mound appeared more than a century later, probably through the Anjou dynasty, which had ties of kinship with Naples. The cross originally stood on three feet, which developed into the mounds. The bars on the other side of the shield appeared in the late 12th century, probably through Spanish influence, as the ruling house had a connection there. According to some opinions the four silver bars on a red background symbolise the four rivers of the Carpathian basin (Duna, Tisza, Dráva, Száva), while according to an assumption from the 18th century the three mounds are identified with the three highest mountains (Tátra, Fátra, Mátra). The crown, which symbolises a thousand years of Hungarian statehood and independence for the people of Hungary, took its place on the coat of arms more than 600 years ago.

The Hungarian Flag: The flag of the Republic of Hungary is a tricolor of horizontal red, white and green bands running horizontally. Our national flag has also evolved through a long series of events. The use of this flag first gained legal status during the 1848-49 revolution and war of independence against Habsburg rule. Earlier flags had evolved through customary law. In the 9th century- according to the evidence of chronicles- the Hungarians fought under red banners decorated with a black turul (a mythical bird resembling an eagle). Later depictions of succeeding Hungarian kings usually showed them with banners bearing a patriarchal cross or red and white stripes. Out of the national colours of Hungary red was taken to be a symbol of strength, white of fidelity and green of hope. The three colours first appeared together on the cord of a seal in 1618, in the reign of King Matthias II. They probably arose from the tinctures of the coat of arms. The tricolor pattern gained popularity from the French Revolution as a type of national flags. After 1945, the crown was replaced on the flag by the crownless, socalled Kossuth coat of arms. The 1949 constitution replaced this with a crest unrelated to tradition and historical continuity. In the Republic of Hungary since the change of system, the ensigned coat of arms with a crown once again adorns the red, white and green national standard. | Contact us

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