Flags are an important part of a nation’s identity and are by their very nature symbolic. However, many people don’t know what the various symbols that can be found on flags stand for, especially if you get into more unique standards. Lebanon, for instance, has a cedar tree in the center of its flag. But why? What does this symbolize?
Well, the cedar is the symbol of Lebanon itself, but as for why that is, the significance of the tree is rooted in many biblical origins.
The Biblical Significance of Cedar Trees in Lebanon
One of the main reasons the cedar has become Lebanon’s symbol is due to the biblical significance of the tree in regard to the nation. The “cedar of Lebanon” comes up in the Bible seventy-seven times. They are mentioned very frequently throughout the Book of Psalms, particularly in Chapter 92, verse 13, and Chapter 104, verse 16.
With Lebanon taking great pride in its storied history, it’s not surprising that direct biblical references to their cedar trees added to the weight of the object as a national symbol. Of course, biblical references are not the only reason the cedar tree is Lebanon’s symbol.
The Cultural Significance of Cedar Trees in Lebanon
Many nations like to choose an object of great cultural significance to represent their nation on a flag. Needless to say, cedar trees are a big part of Lebanon’s cultural identity. They are strong, stalwart trees that can live to be hundreds of years old, overseeing dozens of generations of people and much of a nation’s history.
Even those who were not born in Lebanon have acknowledged how significant they are. Alphonse de Lamartine called them “relics of centuries and nature, the most famous natural landmarks in the universe”.
On top of that, there are a multitude of cedars in Lebanon. When you have an object that is that pervasive throughout the geography of your country, it’s really no surprise that it will become a symbol of sorts. This is especially true when it comes to smaller countries that don’t have as much geographical diversity as some other nations.
Combining both the biblical and cultural significance of these trees that have been around as long as the nation of Lebanon itself, it makes sense that the people of the country have adopted it as their national symbol.
What Does the Tree on the Flag Stand For?
Like most flags, the cedar has a specific symbolic meaning on the flag of Lebanon. It represents the endurance and longevity of Lebanon, a symbol of resilience and steadfast unity against oppression and those who would destroy the nation. Of course, the colors on the flag have their own symbolic meanings as well.
The white background in the middle represents the snow of Lebanon, a symbol of purity and peace. The two red stripes on the outer edges of the flag represent the blood that has been shed by the people of Lebanon to defend it against invaders throughout its history.