Laos is a country located in Southeast Asia and is officially named as Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The boundary to the east is Vietnam, China and Burma to the northwest, Thailand to the west, and Cambodia to the south. The capital city of the country is Vientiane. The government system is a socialist republic.
The flag of Laos is made up of three horizontal stripes with the middle on twice the size of the bottom and top stripes. The middle part is colored blue and the top and bottom stripes are both red. In the middle of the flag is a white circle. It became the national flag in 1975, the same time that the republic government was established. There was a previous design of the national flag which is red with a centerpiece of a triple-headed elephant standing on a pedestal with a parasol at the top of its heads.
This design reflected the ancient name of the country as the “Land of a Million Elephants. This flag was used by the royal government before its collapse in 1975. The white elephant in the flag is a symbol of the god Erawan and is a popular royal symbol in Southeast Asia. The three headed elephant is depicted to be standing on top of a five stepped pedestal with a nine-folded parasol on the top. The three heads of the elephant stands for the three earlier kingdoms of Vientiene, Luangprabang, and Champasak. The umbrella is from a Buddhist tradition and the pedestal means the laws on which the nation is founded.
The history of the flag can be traced back to 1953 when the royal government and the Pathet Lao struggled for political power and the Pathet Lao succeeded by being an alliance of the royal government before taking over the rule. During this time the Pathet Lao used the flag design of blue with red stripes at the top and at the bottom and a white disk in the center. This became the national flag of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party wherein the red stripes signified blood shed by the people for their drive to achieve freedom and the color blue representing prosperity and wealth for the people.