Kyrgyzstan moves to rid national flag of likeness to 'fickle' sunflower

  • World
  • Wednesday, 29 Nov 2023

A man wearing a Kyrgyz national hat poses with national flags before a rally marking the Day of Flag and the Day of Kolpak in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted on Wednesday to tweak the design of the national flag after critics, including President Sadyr Japarov, said its central element looked like a sunflower which in the local culture symbolises fickleness and servility.

The Central Asian nation's flag, adopted in 1992 after it gained independence from the Soviet Union, depicts a yellow sun - which doubles as the pinnacle of a traditional Kyrgyz yurt tent - with 40 rays on a red background.

But the wavy rays caught the eye of some parliament deputies in September who pointed out that they look more like sunflower petals.

The sunflower has a peculiar meaning in the Kyrgyz culture equivalent to that of a weathercock in some European languages - it is used to describe a fickle and servile person willing to switch allegiance for personal benefit.

Such notions could be seen as particularly hurtful in the country whose relatively small economy is heavily dependent on its larger partners. More than a million Kyrgyz, out of the total population of less than seven million, work abroad.

"There has been a widespread opinion in our society that our flag looks like a sunflower, and that is one of the reasons why the country cannot get up off its knees," President Japarov said last month, commenting on the initiative.

The law adopted by Kyrgyzstan's parliament in the first reading on Wednesday changes the design to make the sun rays straight.

(Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In World

Peace talks with Colombia government in crisis, ELN rebels say
Italy arrests 12 people over speed boat migrant trips from Tunisia
Russian activists abroad pin hopes on Yulia Navalnaya
Russia lacks ammunition production needed for Ukraine war, Western officials say
Senegal opposition says President Sall is too slow scheduling vote
Indonesia Prabowo's school meal programme to cost $7.7 billion in first year
Protesting Spanish farmers drive hundreds of tractors to Madrid
Assange wanted for 'indiscriminately' publishing sources' names, U.S. lawyers say
U.S.-Turkey ties now have significant momentum, Senator Murphy says
Turkey's KAAN fighter jet conducts first flight

Others Also Read