The flag consists of three horizontal strips, middle blue strip is twice the height of the top and bottom red stripes. In the middle is a white disc, the diameter of the disc is 4⁄5 the height of the blue stripe. The flag ratio is 2:3. The national flag of Laos was adopted in 1975, when the country became a people's republic. It is the only flag of a currently Communist country that does not use the five-pointed star as an emblem.
This flag replaced the original flag of Laos, which was red, with a triple-headed white elephant on a pedestal beneath a parasol. This expressed the ancient name of the country, "Land of a Million Elephants", and dated from the 19th century. From 1953 onward the royal government waged war with the Pathet Lao, whose flag was blue with a white disk and red borders at the top and bottom.
From 1973 to 1975, the Pathet Lao formed part of the government coalition, before assuming power directly and prompting the abdication of the king. Their flag was adopted as the national flag. In the center is a white disk symbolizing the unity of the people under the leadership of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the country's bright future. It is also said to represent a full moon against the Mekong River. The red stripes stand for the blood shed by the people in their struggle for freedom, and the blue symbolizes their prosperity.
From 1952 until the fall of the royal government in 1975 the country had a red flag, with a white three-headed elephant (the god Erawan) in the middle. On top of the elephant is a nine-folded umbrella, while the elephant itself stands on a five-level pedestal. The white elephant is a common royal symbol in Southeast Asia, the three heads referred to the three former kingdoms Vientiane, Luangprabang, and Champasak which made up the country.
The nine-folded umbrella is also a royal symbol, originating from Mount Meru in the Buddhist cosmology. The pedestal represented the law on which the country rested.