The flag of Vanuatu consists of two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) all separated by a black-edged yellow stripe in the shape of a horizontal Y (the two points of the Y face the hoist side and enclose the triangle); centred in the triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele leaves, all in yellow.
The Vanuatu chain of islands is in the shape of a Y, and the yellow horizontal Y on the flag is representative of same.
Yellow is symbolic of sunshine.
Green is symbolic of the fertile lands.
Red symbolic of bloodshed for freedom, also it associated with the local religious traditions (the sacrifice of pigs is a common religious rite on Vanuatu; their blood is reflected in the dark red stripe).
Black represents the Melanesian people that originally settled the islands.
The emblem on the triangle is a further acknowledgement of an important ritual: it is a full-round pig's tusk, held in high veneration by the people.
Within the circle of the tusk are two crossed namele leaves. The yellow Y-shape that spreads from the hoist to the fly end of the flag suggests the layout of the islands forming Vanuatu, while its yellow colour stands for peace and "the light of Christianity spreading through the archipelago."
Other national flags
At the first South Pacific Games in 1963 a team from the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) displayed a flag of blue-yellow-white vertical stripes with a central emblem. Later, political parties developed flags of their own. Not surprisingly for a Melanesian-populated area, the traditional colours red, black, and green found favour. In 1977 a flag of almost the same colours and symbolism as the future national flag was designed by local artist Kalontas Malon (Malon Kalontas) and adopted by the Vanuatu Party. Following minor modifications, it was hoisted as the national flag on Independence Day, July 30, 1980.
New Hebrides, Anglo-French Administration, 1887 – October 20, 1906
New Hebrides, British Administration, October, 20, 1906 – 1953
New Hebrides, British Administration, 1953 – February 18, 1980
New Hebrides, French Administration, October 20, 1906 – February 18, 1980
New Hebrides, Free French Administration, World War II after the fall of France to Germany