National symbols of North Macedonia

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After the independence of North Macedonia from Yugoslavia, the country made some changes in the national symbols. The flag was changed two times and today's flag includes an eight ray sun on a red background, while the coat of arms from the Socialist Republic of Macedonia stayed the same except the red star was removed.

National flag[edit]

National flag

The flag of the Republic of North Macedonia depicts a stylised yellow sun on a red field, with eight broadening rays extending from the centre to the edge of the field. It was created by Pr. Miroslav Grčev and was adopted on 5 October 1995 after a one-year economic blockade imposed by Greece in order to force the then-Republic of Macedonia to remove the ancient Macedonian Vergina Sun from the flag. Red and yellow have been considered the main colors representing Macedonia since the end of World War II. The new eight-rayed sun represents "the new sun of Liberty" referred to in the national anthem, Denes nad Makedonija. However, many Macedonians consider the Vergina Sun flag to be the flag of the Macedonians (ethnic group) and the Macedonian diaspora.

Coat of arms[edit]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of North Macedonia is composed of two curved garlands of sheaves of wheat, tobacco leaves and opium poppy fruits, tied by a ribbon decorated with the embroidery of traditional Macedonian folk motives. In the centre of the ovoid frame are depicted a mountain, a lake and a sunrise.[1] These devices are said to represent "the richness of the country and its struggle and freedom". The whole composition and design is based with the pattern from the emblem of the SFR Yugoslavia and does not have any roots in the historical heraldic coats of arms of Macedonia. The features of the national emblem contain a rising sun which symbolizes freedom, the Šar Mountains with its peak named Ljuboten or mount Korab and the river Vardar.[2][3] The emblem also contains poppy fruits; poppy was brought to Macedonia by the Ottoman Empire in the first half of 19th century.[4]

National anthem[edit]

Denes nad Makedonija (English translation: "Today Over Macedonia") is the national anthem of North Macedonia. It was composed by Todor Skalovski and the lyrics were written by Vlado Maleski in 1941.[5] It was used by ASNOM and later performed as a popular song of the Macedonians during the time of Socialist Republic of Macedonia, a part of Yugoslavia. Later the song was officially adopted to be the anthem of the independent Macedonia.[5][6]

Unofficial symbols[edit]

The flag of the Republic of Macedonia between 1992 and 1995
  • Vergina flag (official flag from 1991 to 1995) is a stylized yellow sun centered on a red field with eight main and eight secondary rays emanating from the sun, tapering to a point. The Vergina Sun is a 16-ray star covering what appears to be the royal burial larnax of Philip II of Macedon, discovered in Vergina, Greece, and it is believed to have been associated with ancient Macedonian kings such as Alexander the Great and Philip II, although it was used as a symbol in Greek art long before the Macedonian period. The symbol was discovered in the present-day Greek region of Macedonia, and Greeks regard it as an exclusively Greek symbol. The Vergina sun on a red field was the first flag of the independent Republic of Macedonia, until it was removed from the state flag under an agreement reached between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece in September 1995. Greece had also lodged a claim for trademark protection of the Vergina Sun as an official state emblem at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in July 1995.[7][8][9] Nevertheless, the Vergina sun is still used unofficially as a national symbol by many Macedonians and organisations in the Macedonian diaspora.
The lion symbol in the Fojnica Armory roll.
  • The Macedonian Lion first appears in the Fojnica Armorial from 17th century. On the coat of arms is a crown, inside a yellow crowned lion is depicted standing rampant, on a red background. On the bottom enclosed in a red and yellow border is written "Macedonia". It also appears as a red lion on a golden field. The use of the lion to represent "Macedonia" was continued in foreign heraldic collections throughout the 16th to 18th centuries.[10][11] The lion was also used in the 20th century by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. After Macedonia proclaimed independence, a proposal by Miroslav Grčev was put forward in 1992 to replace the current coat of arms with this golden lion on a red shield, but was not approved. However, modern versions of this historical lion has been added to the emblem of several political parties, organizations and sports clubs in Macedonia and with the Macedonian diaspora.


  1. ^ Quotation from the Article 8th of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia The emblem is framed by a garland of ears of wheat, tobacco and poppy fruits, tied by a ribbon with the pattern of a traditional costume. In the centre of such a circular space there are mountains, rivers, lakes and the sun. All this represents "the richness of our country, the struggle and the freedom.
  2. ^ World Around Us — the Encyclopaedia for Children and Youth, XI edition, Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 1987, vol. II (A-M), page 242
  3. ^ Со замената на сликата се менува и објаснувањето, Пирин преоѓа во Кораб.
  4. ^ Agricultural Encyclopaedia, Yugoslavian Lexicographical Institute, Zagreb, 1970, vol. II (Krm-Proi), page 131, Author of the article on Poppy is Jordan Đorđevski, dipl. ing. agr., professor of the Agricultural and Forestry Faculty of the University of Skopje, Macedonia
  5. ^ a b Encyclopaedia of Cultural Heritage of Struga (2005) The Macedonian national anthem, retrieved 2009-09-15
  6. ^ Zakonot na himnata na Republika Makedonija ("Služben vesnik", br. 50/92) – 1991-08-12
  7. ^ WIPO (10 August 2010). "WIPO 6ter Search For: CC/GR".
  8. ^ WIPO (10 August 2010). "WIPO 6ter Search For: CC/GR".
  9. ^ WIPO (10 August 2010). "WIPO 6ter Search For: CC/GR".
  10. ^ Matkovski, Aleksandar, Grbovite na Makedonija, Skopje, 1970
  11. ^ Александар Матковски (1990) Грбовите на Македонија, Мисла, Skopje, Macedonia - ISBN 86-15-00160-X