Don’t the Irish and Italian flags look a little similar? With just some slight adjustment, it seems like either flag could serve as the symbol for either country. Is the similarity intentional, or just a complete coincidence? Today, we’re going to cover how and why these two flags are similar to one another.
Any Similarities Are Coincidental
As you probably know, there isn’t that much of a connection between Ireland and Italy as far as culture is concerned. Needless to say, they are very different from one another, and they weren’t really of import to each other when they were deciding on their official flags, so it’s not as though either country was attempting to copy the other.
In fact, the Irish and Italian flags are only mildly similar: they both have a tricolor layout, with three vertical bands of contrasting colors. The middle stripe for both is white, and the left stripe is green for both. However, the shade of green is pretty different. The green on the Irish flag is a darker hue than the green on the Italian flag.
Furthermore, the rightmost stripe is completely different on both flags. Italy’s rightmost stripe is red, while Ireland’s is orange. They are a little similar in passing, but they are far from identical. Still, why did they both pick such layouts? Did they really both need a tricolor pattern? Well, there’s a reason many countries have a tricolor.
Why Do So Many Countries Use a Tricolor Flag?
The tricolor flag design is simple: it’s three vertical bands of contrasting color, and it is very common. Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Chad, Romania, and many, many other countries use this layout. But why? Well, it all started with the French Revolution, where the tricolor you recognize as France’s standard today was carried by rebels.
The French Revolution was effectively the first time a republican revolutionary movement actually overthrew the reigning aristocracy and established a functioning and lasting republican state. Because of this impressive milestone, the tricolor pattern became representative of republicanism.
So, many countries around the world adopted a flag with a tricolor layout when they became republics themselves. This includes Ireland and Italy, whose republican movements adopted tricolor flags, even though those flags didn’t become popular and officially selected until much later in their respective nations’ history.
This is why you will see so many countries with tricolor flags. As the majority of the world turned towards democracy and republicanism, many of them adopted the flag pattern that was seen as the symbol of the movement. Of course, they couldn’t all have the same flag, which is why countries use different colors.
There’s no universal meaning to the colors: different countries pick different colors based on what they feel they symbolize. Some flag colors have no official meaning at all, like the colors of Ireland. Either way, there are plenty of reasons why some flags may look similar to others, but this is almost always a coincidence.