Indonesia Banget #24: The Flag Of Our Country

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This is the second year of Indonesia Banget, I would love to thank everyone who keeps coming back to read bits of Indonesia. I am not an expert of my own country, but by writing this monthly post, my nationalism increases bit by bit. There are so much to be proud of from this country.

The first post I ever made for this monthly post is called 17 Agustusan where children are competing in many competitions as a way to celebrate our Independence Day. Last year I posted history of our struggle to gain Independence in a post called The Day We Proclaimed Our Independence. This year, I will share about the flag we have been using since 17 August 1945 (the day we gained our freedom from colonialism)

Majapahit Kigdom Army

The colour of Indonesian Flag are Red and White. Based on wikipedia  The color red-white has been used since Majapahit Kingdom. Throughout our history, many kingdoms had used red-white flag as their symbol, such as Kediri Kingdom and Bugis Bone Kingdom. Even the great Pangeran Diponegoro (Prince Diponegoro) used red-white symbol when fighting against Dutch army.

The Red-white flag was then relived by the intelligent youth in 1928. This youth organization was college students who tried to free Indonesia from Dutch colonialism. During the colonialism, the flag was banned from being hoisted. The flag was finally used when President Sukarno proclaimed our independent.

We can also find stories of how the heroes of our country ripped-off the blue part of Dutch flag during the war. It is said that the blue part represented the aristocracy of blue blood. The red part represented the blood that the people of Indonesian had shattered to gain their independence and the white to represent the pureness of Indonesia.

Philosophically, red means courage and white means purity. Red is the symbol of human body while white is the symbol of human soul, both body and soul must complete each other for Indonesia.

Hoisting Bendera Pusaka after the declaration

Sang Saka merah Putih is the honorary way to call our flag. At first, it is used to call the first flag that we hoisted on the day Sukarno proclaimed our independence. The flag was sewed by Fatmawati, Sukarno’s wife. Now, it is used to call all flags being raised in Upacara Bendera (Flag Hoisting Ceremony)

Bendera Pusaka, the first flag used in the first Upacara bendera was made from wool from London which she received from Japanese, at that time many countries made their flag from that fabric. The size of Bendera Pusaka was 276 x 200 cm. Every year from 1948 to 1968, the flag was being hoisted in from of Istana Negara (The national Palace). On 17 August 1969, Bendera Pusaka was no longer used, it is kept safe in the box. We are now using a duplicate flag made of silk, but Bendera Pusaka is present during ceremony, it can still look at the ceremony from its saving box. The color is no longer red, it has turned into a bit brownish.

Every year on August 17, The Palace always holds an Upacara Bendera twice in a day. They are hoisting the flag in the morning and taking it down in the afternoon. To carry and hoist the flag, the country chooses a pair of students from each province. These students then went trough a month of training far from their home. Indonesia has 33 provinces now, that means there are 66 students in Paskibraka Nasional (rough translation: The Hoisting Flag Troop). Those students are the best of all students across the country, the best in discipline and posture when they march to carry the flag.

Here is a video of our 65th Independence Day ceremony in front of the Palace showing the Paskibraka march to take the flag from the president and then hoist it on the flag pole. The Paskibraka are the ones wearing white outfit.

I know that our flag has similarity with Monako, Poland and Singapore‘s flags but we have our own history why our flag are read and white.

I always love seeing our flag raised proudly in any event.

Photo belongs to Harian Jogja
Photo belongs to Sisi Lain

There are a lot of people selling the flags as the celebration day getting closer. I guess it is same in every country 😉

Photo belongs to

State flag is set according to the UUD ’45 pasal 35 State Flag Indonesia is the Red and White. , UU No. 24/2009,and government regulation No.40/1958 on National Flag of the Republic of Indonesia

State flags are made of fabric and color does not fade with the provisions size:

  1. 200 cm x 300 cm for use in the field of the presidential palace;
  2. 120 cm x 180 cm for use in the public square;
  3. 100 cm x 150 cm for use in the room;
  4. 36 cm x 54 cm for use in the car of President and Vice President;
  5. 30 cm x 45 cm for use in the car of state officials;
  6. 20 cm x 30 cm for use in public transport;
  7. 100 cm x 150 cm for use in ships;
  8. 100 cm x 150 cm for use on the train;
  9. 30 cm x 45 cm for use in aircraft; and
  10. 10 cm x 15 cm for use in the table.

Source: Sang Saka Merah Putih and Bendera Indonesia, both from wikipedia.

I am going to close this post by saying:

Happy 67th Independence Day to all Indonesian. Always be proud of our fallen heroes who had freed our country and let’s do our best to make our heroes’ sacrifice doesn’t go in vain.


  1. I collect patches of flags from each country I visit and I can’t wait to get one from your beautiful place. Thanks for all the info.

  2. Happy Independence Day!

    Isn’t it interesting how modern flags tend to be rectangular where many historical flag were triangular? I think I like the old ones better.

    1. Thank you Audrey 🙂

      You know, I never think about that before but you are absolutely right, I wonder why only Nepal keeps their flag triangular :/

  3. Woo hoo!!! Great post for our Independence Day, Nov. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today as we had to do all those ‘upacara’ every Monday in Jr High and High School. Puanasssss banget lagi, he..he..

    Hey, please check your Twitter DM today, I’m going to Jkt in Dec and I’d love to meet up with you and Andina!

    1. Thank you Ruth 🙂
      selamat hari kemerdekaan!!
      Hahaha yeah those upacara, and I am still doing it as I am a teacher now 😉

      I didnt find anyting in my DM but you did mention me. looking forward to have a kopi darat with you and Andina 🙂

  4. happy independence day!
    My own country has changed so many flags in recent history, that I can’t ever memorize how our current one looks like 🙂

      1. it’s because our country for destroyed dozens of times in last hundred years. During my own life so far, my country has changed four times, both the limits, name and the flag. The latest flag has red, blue and white stripe, but I forgot in which order 🙂

      1. I’m trying to read a book by Malaysian author but not sure if I could finish it by next week. I’ll write a post perhaps. We’ll see. 🙂

  5. There is a Hadith “The love of one’s homeland is part of faith.”. Maybe because of this we are really devoted to our flag too just like you and it is a good thing :).

    Maybe after effect of Ramadan, this was the first that came to mind after reading your post:)

    1. I have never heard of that Hadits before. Thank you for telling me about it 🙂
      We are very proud of our flag and the history behind it…for me, the proud comes from the fact that people were giving their life for the flag back in the colonialism era.

  6. Very interesting as usual. The Swiss flag is also red and white but it is very different. It’s a white cross on a red ground and the flag is quare not oblong like most flags. Funny enough i don’t know what the colors and symbol mean.

    1. I know Swiss Flag, so simple but it makes it easy to remember 🙂

      I wonder what it means, it looks like a red cross, maybe it has the same meaning with red cross.

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