Brazil’s national flag is iconic in its blue, green and yellow colours, and is often waved at sporting events or depicted on fashionable clothing items. The green and yellow represent the Braganza-Habsburg dynasty and have, therefore, been an identifying mark of the Brazilian flag for many, many years.
The Bandeira do Brasil, as the flag is known in Portuguese, was designed by Raimundo Teixeira Mendes, and was adopted in its original form as the country’s national flag in 1889. Mendes was assisted by Miguel Lemos, Manuel Pereira Reis and Décio Villares.
The green ‘field’ of the flag is occupied by a yellow rhombus. In the centre of this yellow shape is a blue circle with the motto “Ordem e Progresso” (translated to “Order and Progress” in English) across it and 27 white five-pointed stars. This represents the night sky over Rio de Janeiro, even in terms of the individual positioning of the stars. Each star represents a specific state, of which there are precisely 27.
Brazil's National Flag
In fact, because six new states were added to the country, the flag had to be revised and the new 27-star flag was released in 1992. In this newer version, the stars were also rearranged slightly so that they were accurate in terms of their astrological coordinates.
Because of the differing heights of the real stars that are being represented on the flags, it is not possible to look into the sky with a naked eye and expect to see all of them.
The constellations and stars being depicted include:
• Canis Major
• Crux Australis
• Sigma Octantis
• Triangulum Australe
Interestingly, the colours of the Brazilian flag are not specified in any sort of legal document. This is usually done to ensure continuity and a level of integrity to the national flag (as well as any logos or specialised fonts). This means that, when printing flags or items that carry the flag, designers are free to use colours that are simply close approximations to the original.
There are a number of rules and regulations regarding the flag of Brazil, including:
• The flag must always be hoisted at the Praça dos Três Poderes in Brasília.
• It must be raised and lowered daily at each of the presidential palaces, ministries, National Congress, Supreme Federal Tribunal, Supreme Court of Justice, seats of the three governmental branches (executive, legislative and judicial), diplomatic missions, etc...
• Any flag that is no longer in use must be burned at a military facility during a special ceremony on November 19, known as Flag Day.
• Whenever the Brazilian president declares an official mourning, flags must be flown at half-mast. In these instances, the flag must first be raised all the way up the flagpole and then lowered to a halfway position.
• If another flag is to be flown alongside the Brazilian one, it must be positioned to the right of Brazil’s flag, unless the foreign flag is in an embassy or consulate. In addition, when being hoisted along with other flags, the Brazilian one must get to the top of its flagpole first, and be lowered last.