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A national symbol is a manifestation of a nation or community to the world, serving as a representation of their identity and values. It encompasses not only sovereign states but also nations and countries in a state of colonial or other forms of dependence, federal integration, or even ethnocultural communities that identify as a 'nationality' despite lacking political autonomy.
National symbols intend to unite people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of the national people, values, goals, or history. These symbols are often rallied around as part of celebrations of patriotism or aspiring nationalism (such as independence, autonomy, or separation movements) and are designed to be inclusive and representative of all the people of the national community.
Common official national symbols
- The flag or banner of a nation-state
- The coat of arms of the land or ruling dynasty
- The seal or stamp of the land or ruling dynasty
- The head of state, especially in a monarchy
- The associated device and motto can also be used separately
- The national colors, often derived from the above
- Abstract symbols
- National anthems, royal and imperial hymns; alongside such official hymns custom may also recognize the national symbol values of very popular songs
Some official national symbols like seals are insignias that not everybody is allowed to use.
Unofficial national symbols
In many ways, well-known sights in a country can also be seen as national symbols, as can traditional items of handicraft, folk costumes, natural monuments, national epics and national myths, as well as symbols used by national sports teams and their supporters.
- National symbol – Multitran Dictionary