The Mexican Flag

All of us know how the Mexican Flag looks like but not many know its history and symbols. And why is it almost the same as the Italian Flag?

The Flag

The Mexican Flag is a vertical tricolor of green, white and red, with the coat of arms in the center of the white stripe. Although the symbol of the colors has changed over time, they were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country’s War of Independence.

The First National Flag was created in 1821 and had the general design of the current flag, but the coat of arms is slightly different. The current flag was adopted in 1968. In 1984 a new law containing the national symbols – the flag, anthem and the National Coat of Arms – confirmed the current flag. At that time the Italian flag was not yet in use.

The coat of arms is the Aztec pictogram for Tenochtitlan, now known as Mexico City. The form was revised in 1968.


The flag’s design has been changed 4 times. Both the design of the coat of arms and the width-length ratio of the flag have been modified. However, the coat of arms always had the following items: an eagle holding a serpent in its talon. The eagle is perched on top of a prickly pear cactus, located on a rock above a lake.


According to the Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem, passed in 1984:

“Art. 3: The Bandera Nacional (National Flag) is a rectangle divided into three vertical stripes of identical measures, with the colors placed in the following order from hoist to fly: green, white, and red. Centered in the white stripe, the National Coat of Arms has a diameter of three-fourths the width of the white stripe. The proportion of the flag is four to seven (Ratio 4:7). It could carry a rope or tie of the same colors below the truck.

The colors’ symbolism

Although the origin of the colors is linked to the banner of the Army of the Three Guarantees, over time the meaning changed because of the secularization of the country (during President Benito Juárez) and the current meanings are:

  • Green – hope
  • White – unity
  • Red – blood of the national heroes

However, The World Encyclopedia of Flags(2002) gives another symbol for “red” (religion) but keeps the meanings the same symbols for white and green.

The protocol

When the flag is presented in front of a crowd, those in military uniform must present a salute, according to military rules.

The civilians also have to salute the flag in the following way: standing at attention, Mexicans raise their right arms and place the right hands on the chest in front of the heart. The palm is facing the ground. This is known as “El saludo civil a la Bandera Nacional” (The civil salute of the National Flag).

National Flag Day

The National Flag Day is on February 24. On February 24, 1821 all factions fighting in the War of Independence joined together to form the Army of the Three Guarantees. A declaration declaring Mexico an independent country was signed.