The Hidden Connection in Our Language, English with French History
The French flag, commonly referred to as the “Tricolore,” consists of three vertical stripes of equal width, from left to right: blue, white, and red. It is one of the most iconic national symbols of France and has a rich history and meaning behind its colors and design.
Ancient and Medieval Periods: The use of blue and red as symbolic colors dates back to ancient times in France. Blue was associated with Saint Martin, a Gallo-Roman officer who ripped his blue cloak to give half of it to a beggar, and red was linked to Saint Denis, the patron saint of Paris.
Bourbon Monarchy: The white color was traditionally associated with the Bourbon monarchy. The royal flag of the Bourbon kings of France was a white flag.
French Revolution: The modern Tricolore flag was born during the French Revolution in the late 18th century. The revolutionaries combined the traditional colors of Paris (red and blue) with the royal white, symbolizing the unity of the revolutionaries and the monarchy. The flag was officially adopted on February 15, 1794.
19th Century: The design and significance of the flag underwent several changes during the tumultuous 19th century, especially during the periods of the Bourbon Restoration and the July Monarchy. However, the Tricolore was firmly reestablished as the national flag with the Third Republic in 1870.
French Color Flag Meaning:
1. Blue: Represents Saint Martin and the patronage of the cloak he shared with a beggar. It is also one of the traditional colors of Paris.
2. White: Symbolizes purity and innocence. Historically, it was the color of the Bourbon monarchy and represented the king.
3. Red: Represents Saint Denis and the martyrdom of the Christian saints. It is also one of the traditional colors of Paris.
While the Tricolore originally symbolized the unity of the monarchy and the people during the revolution, its meaning has evolved over time. Today, it stands as a symbol of liberty, equality, and fraternity — the core values of the French Republic.