What Do the Colors of the Mexican Flag Mean?

Updated July 19, 2017

The flag of Mexico acknowledges the country's history, religion and Aztec heritage. From its adoption after gaining independence from Spain, the various aspects of the tricolour have represented the culture and people of Mexico.

The Flag

The flag was created in 1821. President Benito Juarez later slightly changed the official meaning of the colours. Mexico celebrates El Dia de la Bandera, or flag day, on Feb. 24.

The Green

The colour green signifies independence and hope. According to the originators, the green vertical bar along the left side of the flag represents the independence movement and the separation from Spain. It later became to represent hope.

The White

White is for Catholicism and unity. The creators wanted to acknowledge Mexico's devotion to Catholicism. The white vertical bar in the centre represents the purity of the Mexican's faith. It later was changed to represent unity.

The Red

Red is for unity and spilt blood. The red vertical bar along the right side of the flag initially represented the unity of the European Spanish people and the North American Spanish people. It later came to represent the blood that was spilt by revolutionaries for independence.

The Symbol

An eagle with a snake in its mouth recognises the Aztec heritage of Mexico. According to Aztec legend, the gods advised the Aztec people to build their capital on the location in which they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear tree, eating a serpent. They built their capital, Tenochtitlan, on what is now the main plaza of Mexico City.

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About the Author

Jay Seidel is a professor of journalism in Southern California. Prior to becoming an instructor, he worked for more than 10 years as an editor of both trade and consumer magazines, including: "Popular Hot Rodding," "Law Office Computing," "LCT," and "Inside Hockey." He received his B.A. in journalism from California State University, Long Beach and his M.A. in communications from California State University, Fullerton.