National symbols require one to be familiar with their culture in order to appreciate the national symbols. The national song of India Vande Mataram was composed in Sanskrit and is sung in the same language. The song was a source of inspiration to the Indian people during the struggle for freedom. The song appreciates the struggle as an important event in India’s History. Moreover singing the song requires one to be conversant with the Sanskrit language which enhances appreciation for the overall Indian culture.Thirdly, symbols promote patriotism among citizens in a country. The meaning of national symbols is in most cases one that advocates love for one’s country and loyalty to its people and nation at large. A good example is the Kenyan flag that is comprised of four colors of which three appear in equal horizontal stripes. The black part represents the indigenous people of Kenya. The smaller white stripe represents peace and is followed by a larger red stripe that represents the bloodshed in fighting for Kenya’s independence and after the red stripe there is another white stripe of equal width to the previous one. The last stripe which is green represents Kenya’s fertile land and its endowment in natural resources. The shield and spears symbolize the readiness and willingness of Kenyans to defend the sovereignty they fought for. The flag is hoisted in national celebrations to inspire the same spirit of patriotism and national unity that helped to attain independence from the British colonial rule.Symbols obtain identities based on what is important to the people concerned. What is important could be social, political or even economical. For example nationalist movements have given identities to various symbols. Symbols of nationalism are included in flags, national anthems, currency and even architecture. These symbols reinforce a spirit of national consciousness, pride and loyalty towards the political interests of their nation. The “ Star spangled banner [ U. flag] with its stars increasing as a new state joined the Union was an important symbol of America for the millions of immigrants to the United States” (Minogue 1967: 11).National symbols also obtain their identities from the religious backgrounds of their countries of their and communities. “Traditional religious totems can be adopted as modern national symbols” (Singer, 2007). For example the menorah and the Roaring Lion of Tel Hai have
Minogue, K.R. Nationalism. London: Batsford (1967). Print.
Hutchinson, J. and A.D. Smith, eds. Nationalism. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (1994). Print.
Buckler, Julie A, and Emily D Johnson. Rites Of Place: Commemoration in Russia and Eastern Europe. Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press (2013). Print.
Singer, H.A. “Review of Geisler, Michael, E., ed; National Symbols, Fractured Identities: Contesting the National Narrative (2007). Web
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