Saturday, August 9, 2008

What’s the Difference Between the Italian and Mexican Flag?

Italian Flag (left) and Mexican Flag (right)
Flag of ItalyFlag of Mexico
Recently, we hung an Italian-flag windsock on our deck as a prop for an upcoming party and realized that the colors of Italian flag looked a lot like the Mexican flag on first glance. (A neighbor dutifully noted the windsock and commented that she was surprised because we were not “windsock” people.)

So what are the differences between the Italian and Mexican flags? The Italian flag is a vertical tricolor (in Italian Il Tricolore) of green, white, and red. The Mexican flag on first glance is the same except the there is a coat of arms in the center white stripe. However, there are a couple of subtle differences. The Italian flag uses lighter shades of green and red and the Italian flag has an aspect ratio (width:height) of 3:2 while the Mexican flag is 7:4.

The Mexican coat of arms in the white band of the flag is an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus with a snake in its beak and talons.

The meaning of the colors for the Italian flag depend on who you ask. One common and poetic interpretation you might hear is that green is the countryside, white is the snowy Alps, and red us the blood spent during wars for Independence. A less poetic but more accurate explanation is that the Italian flag was first created in 1797 during the short-lived Cispadane Republic of Northern Italy. The red and white were already colors of the flag of Milan and green was based on the color of uniforms. The Italian flag was written into the constitution in 1947 as a tricolor: green, white and red in vertical bands of equal size.

The meaning of the colors for the Mexican flag likewise is not fixed, but can be taken to mean roughly: green = hope, white = purity and red = religion or the spilled blood of national heroes (as pointed out by one reader).

The flags for Ireland and Côte d’Ivoire look similar to the Italian and Mexican flags, except they use orange instead of red.

Flag of Ireland (left) and Flag of Côte d’Ivoire (right)
Flag of Ireland Flag of Cote d'Ivoire

32 comments:

  1. Sorry but i dont get it, 2 countries cant have the same flag, meaning different understandings. Please someone explain it to me.

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    1. because countries are completelly distinct entities in a really really huge world and generally it's not worth making a fuss over who own 3 squares on a piece of cloth

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  3. The red in the Mexican flag is supposed to symbolize the spilled blood of the national heroes, not the religion. That is the official version we are taught at school.

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  4. Well its a life lesson, we now know not vist art exibits, or look at new inventions in Mexico, Italy, Ireland, or Côte d’Ivoire because they're obviously not creative people.

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    1. Obviously you dont know anything about lifes lessons except ignorance ! Why dont you get some books out and read about all of them places ! Better yet go and visit them and you we see the difference !

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    2. Obviously you don't know anything about sarcasm! Why don't you get some books and read about all of the various uses of the written word! Better yet go and visit them on reddit and 4chan and see the difference!

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    3. I know about sarcasm. Son, your original posting is not sarcastic at all.

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    4. I'm not the op, but yes it was pretty clearly sarcastic

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  5. Really????
    Can't you find something more sensible to debate about why does one have to be stupid if the other doesn't relate or understand you are trying to gain knowledge. Not judge a flag of a country where you aren't from respect what's not yours as if it were yours and you will gain the same respect

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  6. Hmm... The fact that this is the first Google Search result for "Mexican flag and Italian flag" sure did not help the quality of discussion on here.

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  7. Let's call it a draw...Both countries make the best food...common!

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  8. Well I live in SA Texas... In order for me to get AUTHENTIC Mexican food I had to go to Taco Bell. Run for the Border... Down the street...

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    1. Yeah, Taco Bell is "authentic".

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  9. My wife is from Italy, I'm from the United States. We fly both flags. I served in the United States Marines and Army both. My wife served in the Israeli Defense Forces. So for respect of my wife military service we also fly the flag of Israel. This has caused some troubles and confusion among those who don't know what each flag represents and means to us.

    I'm American, my wife is Italian. She is Jewish, I am not. But I still support Israel and have for a very long time. We get Americans who do not know the obvious differences between the flags who ask why we are flying the Mexican flag? But you can't help stupid. People just need to educate themselves on topics before discussing them.

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    1. Don't you you fly flags for others to view though? It is also out of respect for native patriotism that you also fly the U.S. flag together and higher when flying flags of foreign nations on American soil. You didn't state that this was/wasn't a factor and not assuming in either direction because I am sure you already know this from being on Post/Station from your military background, but if not it usually helps when folks see them grouped like that instead of looking like a joint embassy in your neighborhood :-)

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    2. wtf, you fly simbols of death and destruction on your own home

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  10. The Mexican flag and the Irish flag actually caused some confusion for my dad. Macklemore was performing Irish Celebration in some concert and waved around the Irish flag. Unfortunately the lighting kind of turned the orange into red. For five minutes, my dad was convinced Macklemore was Mexican.

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  11. Aspect ratios are given by width:height. So, that's 3:2 and 7:4.
    Otherwise, the flags would be vertical.

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  13. i'm italian and even if sometimes in school we are taught that red stands for the blood , green the countryside and White the alps and it sounds very poetic , it's a late and made up interpreation. Our flag originates from the Cisalpina republic, originally a puppet state created by Napoleon to keep control over northern Italy,that later on developed indipendentist and patriotic movements that eventually led to the unification.(40 years later-70 if we include the annexion of Rome) . It is believed that Napoelon himself, (which nominated himself head of state of the Cisalpina republic and eventually had someone , often a relative, to have the role of "governor") or someone closely related to him made the flag to resemble/mirror the french one.

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  14. Thanks. I made some updates. The more I learn about and travel around Italy, the more amazed I am on Napoleon's impact here.

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  15. Wow, surprised that the blogger that made this post is still active.

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  16. I try to keep things up to date if I can.

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  17. Yeah, in the mexican flag the green represents hope (or unity), the white purity of ideals (or religion), and the red represents the blood of our heroes (or the mixture of spanish and native races)

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