The Flag of Laos is a triband flag which consists of three horizontal stripes. The top and bottom stripes are red, and the center stripe is blue. The center blue stripe is the height of the other two stripes combined. Lying on the center of the blue stripe is a white disc. The disc does not reach any of the sides of the blue stripe.
The red stripes represent the blood shed by the Lao people during the struggle for freedom and independence from the French. The blue stripe is a representation of the Mekong River and is a symbol of the nation’s prosperity. The Mekong is a Southeast Asian river separating Thailand and Laos. The white disc symbolizes justice and the unity of the Lao people under the leadership of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the country’s bright future. It is also said that the disc represents a full moon over the Mekong River, a mark of peace and serenity despite the powerful flow of the river.
The Laos flag was designed and first adopted in 1945 by Maha Sila Viravong, a famous Lao nationalist, intellectual, and scholar of traditional Lao literature, history and culture. As one of the members of the Lao Issara government, he was tasked with creating a new Lao national flag that had to be distinct from the royalist flag. This flag was only used for one year under the Lao Issara government. It was no longer used in 1946 due to the French takeover but was re-adopted on December 2, 1975 when Laos became a socialist state.
Laos is just one of the two communist countries that does not use communist symbols in the design of its flags. Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southeast and Thailand to the west and southwest.