Since becoming a self-governing nation in 1959, Singapore has adopted a number of national symbols to display its identity proudly to the rest of the world. As well as the official emblems and symbols of the country, there are also some well-known elements that act almost like unofficial symbols of Singapore.
Intended to create a sense of unity amongst the diverse population and give the country its own individual symbols that could be recognized the world over, Singapore is very proud of its various emblems and representations.
Here are some of Singapore’s interesting symbols, along with a little meaning behind them:
First revealed to the public and the rest of the world in December 1959, Singapore’s national flag comprises a red upper stripe with a white crescent moon and five stars, along with a lower white stripe. One of the country’s most recognizable symbols, the colour white represents peace and virtue, whilst the red colour shows the equality of all people and brotherhood. The moon symbolizes a young country and the five stars are to show the country’s ideals of peace, democracy, justice, equality, and development.
The national anthem, called Majulah Singapura, also came into existence in December 1959. Written in Malay, it is also proscribed by law that the national anthem should only be sung in its original language. The name translates into English as Onward Singapore, showing the newly self-governing country’s hopes, dreams, goals, ambitions, and aspirations for the future. In 2001, the anthem was changed to be sand and played in a lower key, giving it an even grander sound. The melody and words remained unchanged.
National Coat of Arms
Also referred to as the State Crest, this was another symbol that was revealed in December 1959. Designed to show the country’s status as an independent (although not entirely fully independent at this time) and self-governing nation, it depicts a red shield in the middle with the five white stars and crescent moon of the country’s flag. The shield is held at the side by a lion and a tiger, with a blue ribbon at the bottom displaying the motto of Majulah Singapura.
Written in 1966, the national pledge was designed to try to ease racial and ethnic tensions and create a sense of community and harmony within the very diverse population of the small island nation. It came into existence a year after Singapore became fully independent (1965). An oath of allegiance to Singapore, it reminds citizens that their immediate loyalty is to the country, with all Singaporeans standing together for the nation. When people say the pledge they should stand with their right hand clenched into a fist and held across their body pressed up the left side of their chest.
Singapore’s national flower, adopted in 1981, is a type of Orchid called the Vanda Miss Joaquim. The only country to have a hybrid flower as a national symbol, it was chosen because of its resilience and bright colours.
Also adopted in the 1980s, the Lion Head symbol is used to show national identity. An immediately recognizable symbol of the country, you can see it in many places. It is used because of Singapore’s nickname of the Lion City.