Illustrations of Nepali Flag
J. Rigby & V. Hunjan ©Believe Collective

The flag of Nepal is the only national flag which is not rectangular in shape. The current flag has been in use for centuries but was only officially adopted as the national flag in 1962 when a constitutional form of government was established in Nepal.

There are numerous explanations for the Nepali flag's unusual shape: one is that is was based upon two separate pennants belonging to rival branches of the Rana dynasty, which formerly ruled the country. The moon in the upper part is said by some to represent the former royal house, while others suggest that it symbolises the calm temperament of Nepali people. The sun in the lower part is interpreted by some as the crest of a branch of the once ruling Rana dynasty but it is also said to represent the Nepali people's 'fiery resolve'.

Whichever interpretation you prefer, there is the common hope that Nepal will last as long as the sun and the moon. The style of these heavenly bodies was streamlined in December 1962, prior to which the sun and moon were depicted as having faces - like those on the former royal coat of arms. It has been suggested that, since the abolition of the monarchy, Nepal should have a new flag. Disappointingly, the proposed new design is a crimson rectangle with a white sun in the top left-hand corner.

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