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Flag Variants (Lebanon)

Last modified: 2013-12-04 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: lebanon | lubnan | republic of lebanon | al-jumhuriyya al-lubnaniyya | cedar (green) | tree: cedar (green) |
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Unofficial Variants

There is considerable variation in the depiction of the cedar; these are some of the more unusual renditions spotted. Since the 1943 flag law specifies only the cedar's dimensions and color, not precise shade or artistic style, I suppose any design that is all-green, touches the top and bottom stripes, and stretches over one third of the flag's lenght is technically "valid."

Eugene Ipavec, 12 Aug 2007


Incorrect Variants

Even if the official version of the flag has red-white-red stripes in 1:2:1 proportions and a green cedar touching the red stripes, other combinations are fairly often used. The main variations are of three kinds: the stripes in 1:1:1 proportions, the colouring of the cedar (green-brown or green-black) and its size (smaller or even bigger than the white stripe). I suppose there is the possibility of a fully black cedar, as was previously used on the French tricolour, but I have never seen that on the current flag.

Željko Heimer, 12 Aug 1996

Between independence and 1982, not many Lebanese paid attention to the words that the fighters for independence wrote in describing the flag that they hastily sketched out: a green tree in the white field that touches the two reds. They never mentioned brown. See this sketch [at the Lebanese Parliamentary Elections 2000 website]. In the summer of 1982, there was a popular TV show, hosted by Riad Sharara, who put out a challenge: the first person to come to the TV station with a green cedar in the white field that touched both red stripes would win a prize. Very few people showed up with the correct flag. The cedar trees were in brown and green. Some touched the red stripes and others did not. Some brought flags with all-green cedar trees, but the cedars did not touch the reds. Even the flags that the Army had printed were wrong. However, the result of Sharara's challenge was an unprecedented raising of awareness of the actual design and colors of the flag.

Before that summer, the Ministry of Tourism printed the flag on letter-sized paper (but in the correct 2:3 proportions) with a brown and green cedar for local distribution, mostly to schools, especially around independence day (November 22nd). As of 1982, the Ministry started printing flags with all-green trees (ironically and sadly, the Ministry of Tourism website has an incorrect flag). Even the Lebanese Army printed new flags. It was a revolution. When flag day came round, all students were instructed to draw the flag correctly. Sharara's challenge came at a time when Lebanon was under Israeli occupation. Possibly, the challenge stirred up patriotism in the Lebanese at a time when the future was uncertain.

To summarize, all Lebanese flags that depict the cedar tree green and brown are incorrect. All flags in which the cedar tree does not touch the white are incorrect. They are not variants. They are simply wrong. The only acceptable variant is the long vertical banner for special occasions.

N.J., 25 Sep 2000

Last week the New York Times had a story on how flag manufacturers in Lebanon were working at full capacity but could not keep up with demand. One tactic being used to speed production was to simply produce the cedar tree at appropriate intervals on long rolls of red/white/red cloth, and then sell the rolls to other businessmen who would have them cut up and hem the edges. Those who have registered with the NY Times or would care to do so (it's free) can see the story Banner Days for the Lebanese (Ask the Flag Makers)

Perhaps this photo [of a long vertical flag with many cedars] is the result of some manufacturer adopting the technique for vertical hoist variants too – and some demonstrators being too impatient to wait for the roll to be cut up...

BTW, some may recall that a short while ago there was a discussion on the list about using flags manufatured/population as a metric to judge the relative "flag flying" tendencies of nations. Lebanon with one flag produced for c. every 5.3 residents within the short time of 6 weeks has to moved towards the top by that standard :)

Ned Smith, 28 Mar 2005

I've seen others, some with even two cedars on them – although these may have simply been two flags sewn together. I seem to recall two cedars vertically as well.

One note: The problem with the incorrect variants noted on FOTW seems to have vanished. That is, the tree is always (as far as I can tell) all-green and touching both red stripes. Whether the tree itself is precisely correct is another story.

Nathan Lamm, 24 Mar 2005

Unfortunately, at least one firm supplying flags to the U.S. government still makes them with the brown trunks. There's one standing downstairs in the lobby here at the National Defense University.

Joseph McMillan, 24 Mar 2005

[Rafik Hariri Burial Variant (Lebanon)]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin and Eugene Ipavec

TV news reports last night included pictures of the funeral rally/protests in Lebanon for Rafiq Hariri. I noted that his coffin was draped in a variant of the Lebanese flag which had the tree (a larger tree?) reaching down to stand on the lower red stripe. I also noticed several of the crowd had what were presumably vertically-hung flags carried horizontally, with the trees looking like arrows pointing to the right.

James Dignan, 17 Feb 2005

Rafic Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, murdered in a bombing probably organized by Syria, was buried on 16 February 2005 in Beirut. More than 200,000 people joined the funeral, which turned into a big demonstration against the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.

Hariri's coffin was draped with a Lebanese national flag. As prescribed, the cedar was fully green and touched the red stripes (at least the lower one, the upper one being not visible), but the design of the cedar is much more artistic than on the "official" flag shown on the Album and the FOTW website. Here is a close-up of the picture (Joseph Barnak/AFP) shown on the cover of 20 Minutes, #682, 17 February 2005.

Ivan Sache, 18 Feb 2005


Unconventionally-Rendered Cedar Variants

[Unofficial Variant (Lebanon)]
[Unofficial Variant (Lebanon)]
[Unofficial Variant (Lebanon)]
 
 
 

images by Eugene Ipavec, 12 Aug 2007


Vertical-Stripes Variant

[Vertical-Stripe Lebanese Flag]
image by N.J. and Eugene Ipavec, 20 May 2007

I saw a Lebanese flag with the stripes vertical instead of horizontal on TV during the Israeli attacks on Lebanon last summer. It was a demonstration of solidarity towards Lebanon, mostly by Lebanese immigrants in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

Jorge Candeias, 22 Feb 2007


Brown-Trunk Variant

[Brown-Trunk Cedar Variant (Lebanon)]
image by N.J. and Eugene Ipavec

Photos have also shown flags with the trunk of the cedar brown instead of green.

Zachary Harden, 21 Feb 2005


Alternative Cedar Depictions

[Thin Cedar Variant (Lebanon)]
image by Eugene Ipavec

A variant (probably among several other ones) of the Lebanese national flag could be seen during street demonstrations in Beirut in a photo taken by Nabil Mounzer (EPA/SIPA) on 28 February 2005 in Beirut and shown on the front page of 20 Minutes (#690, 01 Mar 2005). One of the Lebanese flags waved by the crowd has a very thin cedar, which looks rather like a fir or a pine.

Ivan Sache, 02 Apr 2005


Pro-Hezbollah Variant

[Yellow Stripe Variant (Lebanon)]
image by N.J. and Eugene Ipavec

In the demonstrations in Beirut on CNN there was a Lebanese flag with a yellow upper stripe, which I believe relates to Hezbollah. There could have been black Arabic writing on this top stripe. There are also thousands of "regular" Lebanese flags in the square.

Milo Pyne, 02 Dec 2006


Pro-Syrian Variants

[Lebanese-Syrian
image by N.J. and Eugene Ipavec

In a BBC report on the Hezbollah-sponsored pro-Syrian demonstrations in Beirut I noticed a Lebanese flag with the two green Syrian stars added on either side of the cedar.

Eugene Ipavec, 08 Mar 2005

I heard on the radio of a "Syrian flag with the Lebanese cedar added in the middle." I guess the reporter wrongly described what you have seen on the BBC. Due to the current political situation, it makes more sense!

Ivan Sache, 10 Mar 2005

A green star on either side of the cedar – now that's a clear political statement!

Albert Kirsch, 23 Mar 2005

[Double Cedar Variant (Lebanon)]
image by N.J. and Eugene Ipavec

A variant (probably among several other ones) of the Lebanese national flag could be seen during street demonstrations in Beirut in a photo taken by Nabil Mounzer (EPA/SIPA) on 28 February 2005 in Beirut, shown on p. 9 of the 01 Mar 2005 (#690) issue of 20 Minutes: there are two "duplicated" flags of Lebanon being waved from the same staff. There does not seem to be an optical illusion; the flags were probably made by stitching together, side by side, two Lebanese flags. I seem to remember having seen such a "duplicate" flag during a sporting event.

Ivan Sache, 02 Apr 2005

Possibly made by stitching together 2 flags, but alternatively it may result from a Lebanese flag makers' tactic the New York Times reported last week, on how flag manufacturers in Lebanon were working at full capacity but could not keep up with demand. One tactic being used to speed production was to simply produce the cedar tree at appropriate intervals on long rolls of red/white/red cloth, and then sell the rolls to other businessmen who would have them cut up and hem the edges. I don't know why anyone would cut such rolls to produce a long flag with two trees, but then I also don't know why anyone would stitch two regular flags together to make a long flag with two trees.

Ned Smith, 02 Apr 2005

I would have thought that was obvious; compare it to the Syrian flag.

James Dignan, 02 Apr 2005

[Black Stripe Variant (Lebanon)]
image by N.J. and Eugene Ipavec