Sunday, July 01, 2007

I Never Saw a Purple Flag...

Reading up on the Australian flag (for no reason) today, I came across an interesting (if pointless) little fact: apparently no national flag currently uses purple (source), which is kind of surprising considering how popular it is in heraldry (on which vexillology is supposedly based). Not surprisingly, I guess, some of the proposals for a replacement flag for Australia include purple. You can see them all (or, at least, a great number of the most popular ones) here.

It turns out that my favorite country is also considering a flag change, though the public seems less enthusiastic about it. Which is ironic (or, actually, not, given who we're talking about), considering that their proposed new flag is actually kind of cool. And really, if you're going to have trouble distinguishing Australia and New Zealand (and their flags do look almost exactly the same, after all) - you err on the side of Australia, right? I mean, there's over three times as many Aussies as ... well, whatever New Zealanders - excuse me, Aotearoans - are.

But back to the main subject - isn't it kind of interesting that out of all the national flags in the world, and with a more or less limited number of colors to choose from (according to the guide linked above, flags should only use black, red, green, blue and purple, with white and yellow being considered "metals" and not colors), NO ONE has bothered to use purple? Or, actually, I guess the better question is why, given a clear preference for not using it, purple is still considered a "vexillologically correct" color for flags? Maybe it shows up in lots of regional or locality flags or something.

I never saw a purple flag,
I do not hope to see one,
And because I'm not a fag,
I'd rather see than be one!

(With completely insincere apologies to the original purple cow poem.)


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