Mexico has one official national flag that is recognized around the world as representing the country. However, there is some debate around whether Mexico has an unofficial second flag that is used to represent the country as well. In this article, we’ll explore the details around Mexico’s official flag, discuss the unofficial second flag, and answer the question of whether Mexico truly has two national flags.
Mexico’s Official National Flag
Mexico’s official and undisputed national flag is the Mexican tricolor. This flag features three vertical stripes in the colors green, white, and red, with the Mexican coat of arms depicted in the center of the white stripe. The Mexican tricolor flag was first adopted in 1821 during the first Mexican Empire under Emperor Agustín de Iturbide. It was later readopted in 1934 under President Lázaro Cárdenas and remains Mexico’s official flag to this day.
The colors and symbols of the Mexican flag hold meaning and represent important aspects of Mexican history and culture:
- Green stands for independence and hope
- White stands for purity and unity
- Red stands for the blood of heroes who fought for Mexico’s freedom
- The coat of arms has symbolic elements representing Mexican pre-Hispanic civilizations as well as European influence
The Mexican tricolor flag is deeply meaningful to Mexicans and is respected and flown proudly across Mexico. It can be seen waving outside homes, businesses, government buildings, and more throughout the country.
Mexico’s Unofficial Second Flag
While Mexico has only one official national flag, there is some discussion around whether Mexico has an unofficial second national flag used to represent the country at times. This unofficial flag is the Mexican sun flag, also called the Eagle and Nopal flag.
The Mexican sun flag features a golden eagle perched atop a prickly pear cactus devouring a snake. This iconic image comes from the Aztec legend of Tenochtitlan and has symbolic meaning to Mexicans. It represents the Aztec peoples who founded Tenochtitlan, which later became Mexico City, and connects Mexico to its pre-Hispanic civilizations and indigenous roots.
The sun flag is sometimes used at sporting events by Mexican fans and athletes and has been used on uniforms for the Mexican national soccer team. However, it has no official status from the Mexican government as either a national flag or national symbol. While many Mexicans have embraced the sun flag as an additional representative emblem of their country, it remains an unofficial symbol rather than an official second national flag.
The Legal Status of the Mexican Flags
Mexico’s laws protect and regulate usage of its national symbols, including the Mexican tricolor flag. In Mexico, it is illegal to alter or use the Mexican flag in disrespectful ways. Mexican flag protocol dictates how the flag should properly be displayed and handled.
The sun flag, while considered a Mexican emblem, does not share the same legal protections and protocols as the official Mexican flag. There are no Mexican laws regulating appropriate display or usage of the sun flag. This is because it does not have official status as a national flag under Mexican law.
How the Flags Are Used
The Mexican tricolor is used extensively in both official and unofficial contexts as the undisputed symbol of Mexico. It is flown by the Mexican government and military, displayed on official buildings, raised at embassies around the world, incorporated into coats of arms, and more. It is also commonly displayed by Mexican citizens in various contexts.
The sun flag sees more limited use, primarily in unofficial contexts relating to Mexican sports, culture, or celebrations. It is most prominently displayed during the Mexican independence day celebration on September 16th. The sun flag is also frequently used by Mexican fans at sporting events like the World Cup to cheer on the Mexican national team. However, it is rarely used in official state or diplomatic contexts.
Historic Use of the Flags
The Mexican tricolor first came into use in 1821 and was officially adopted in 1934. It has been used extensively in official and unofficial capacities to represent Mexico ever since. There are records of the tricolor flag being raised for Mexican independence in 1821 and flown during key events throughout Mexico’s history in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The origins of the sun flag can be traced back to Tenochtitlan, but it was first used as a Mexican emblem in the early 19th century during the First Mexican Empire under Agustín de Iturbide. It rose to prominence during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century as a symbol of Mexican freedom and sovereignty. In the 21st century, its use has become more widespread, especially in the context of sports.
Opinions on the Sun Flag’s Status
There are mixed perspectives in Mexico on whether the sun flag should be considered a second national emblem or even elevated to share official flag status. Some Mexicans argue the sun flag is a vital part of Mexican national identity and a symbol of indigenous heritage that deserves greater recognition. But others contend Mexico should only have one official flag, and that the tricolor alone represents all citizens.
Many Mexicans simply see the sun flag as a popular national emblem used to show Mexican pride, especially in sports. But there is disagreement around whether it constitutes a true national flag.
While the sun flag is widely recognized as a Mexican national symbol and used in many non-official contexts, Mexico officially only has one national flag – the tricolor. The tricolor is Mexico’s undisputed official flag and sole legal national flag. The sun flag remains a popular unofficial emblem embraced by many Mexicans, but it does not share official flag status. Whether Mexico should elevate the sun flag in recognition is debated, but legally and officially Mexico currently only has one national flag.
The evidence shows that both the Mexican tricolor and sun flag represent Mexico, but only the tricolor constitutes the official, lawful flag of the country. So in summary:
- Mexico has 1 official national flag: The Mexican tricolor
- The sun flag is an unofficial emblem used to represent Mexico
- The tricolor is used in official state contexts, the sun flag more informally
- Mexico’s laws only regulate usage of the tricolor flag
- There is debate around whether the sun flag should gain official status
- But legally Mexico only has 1 official national flag
The Mexican tricolor is Mexico’s one true national flag, while the sun flag remains a popular but unofficial emblem. Mexico has one official flag, even if both the tricolor and sun flag represent the country in different ways.