Nigeria is a young nation. But it has much to be proud of including its national symbols and the history of their development. Read more to find out.
Every country has its traditions and culture. They are always accompanied by particular signs and things. Nigeria is not an exception. There are at least 5 Nigerian national symbols that make people proud.
Such symbols are usually connected to history of the country and its heritage. Their main purpose is to remind of past events, which were key ones for a certain country. Sometimes they have nothing to deal with the history itself, but they carry a kind of meaning, symbolize something (such as freedom, unity, independence, and other things like that).
Concept of Nigerian national symbols
What we first need is to understand the term. National symbol is considered a symbol of any entity manifesting itself to the world as a national community. Any kind of state can have it, never mind whether it's independent or not. The list includes:
- sovereign states,
- colonized nations and countries,
- (con)federal integrations,
- ethno-cultural community with no political autonomy (such as, for instance, tribes).
Symbols express a particular national idea. It can be showed by means of colors, forms, and even materials. They also include visual, verbal, and iconic representations of national people, their values, aims, or history. They might be applied for both positive and negative aims – either for development of patriotism or creation of nationalistic thinking. Various separation movements often make use of them as well. It helps to create special mood and views.
There is usually a set of symbols, which is typical for any country. For example, 5 Nigerian national symbols include flag, anthem, pledge, coat of arms, and flower.
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Role and impact
You should understand symbols have great influence on Nigerian national identity. They are connected with our sub consciousness. Such signs are always feared, loved, and worshipped. Soldiers are ready to die for their flag, because for them it represents their motherland. Thus, they die for their country. It is very complicated psychological issue. Symbols are strongly connected with our emotions. The recent researches claim that it's impossible to build a strong nation without them, as they evoke a feeling of belonging. Besides, by means of real signs people can get not just an abstract idea, but also concrete material concept. In fact, they allow promoting unity of the whole society.
It is also important to notice that in the majority of countries, the laws say that people should respect national symbols. Very often pledges and anthems are learnt at schools from the earliest stage. There has been an experiment carried out. Same people have been asked the same questions twice. The second time has been in presence of a national symbol. And according to the results, in the second case, they have showed much more nationalistic thinking and ideas.
These signs provoke collective emotions. That's why they are so popular during football matches or any contest. The most influential are thought to be the flag and the anthem.
As we have mentioned above, there are five most prominent ones in this country. They are as follows:
- Nigerian national flag. It was actually created by Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi in the year of 1959. He was the student in London during that time. There was National Flag Design Competition carried out at the university campus, and his variation appeared to be the best among the other 2000 ones. He got not only the glory, but also money (100 pounds). The flag is divided into 3 equal vertical lines.
It expresses the vast forests and agriculture as well as national wealth and its lush and vegetation (with green colors from both sides) and peace and unity (with white color in the middle). There are several essential rules, concerning flag. They are:
- it must be raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset,
- should be hung on the days of funerals or any important memorial days,
- other flags shouldn’t be placed higher than Nigeria's one in the room,
- if it's torn out, it must be destroyed/burned.
This flag was officially raised for the first time during Nigeria's Independence Day (on the 1st of October, the year of 1960). Since that time, it has been expressing fervor and sentiments of people of this nationality.
- Nigerian national anthem. It’s considered the most popular symbol. It is also very influential for any nation. The first one was composed by two British nationals. However, in 1978 the other band was asked to write lyrics. Music for the new national anthem of Nigeria had been created by Ben Odiase.
Later, he became the music director in Nigeria police band. Anthem reminds of the goals. It inspires people to keep building the nation, until it finally becomes mighty. It contains the calls for unification as well.
- Coat of Arms. It was adopted in May 1960. Everything you can see on it, carries its special meaning. First of all, it depicts eagle on a shield, which is trisected by two wavy bands. The shield, denoting fertile soil, is supported by 2 white horses. Bands in their turn reflect image of the Niger. The eagle means strength, while horses symbolize dignity. In the bottom, you may see plenty of coctus spectabifis. They are colorful and bright flowers, which grow all over Nigeria. They denote the beauty of the land.
- National flower. It is not hard to guess, it is the same as on Coat of Arms. Costus spectabilis is a wonderful flower, found all over Africa. It usually grows in the wild. There exist more than 100 varieties of it. In fact, such plants have yellow petals, and many people say that the Coat of Arms creators have made a mistake by paining them red. Starting from 1978, it's used as official seal of authority.
- National Pledge. As well as the anthem, everyone from the childhood learns it at schools. Children recite it every day at the beginning and at the end of lessons. It is kind of tradition. There's also a national motto, which is as follows: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.
These are common symbols; however, there exist much more of them. Sometimes the picture of the president might be applied to raise the patriotic mind. Nowadays these signs have become a kind of fashionable brand. Many people like buying things with them and even clothes (especially in some countries). Many of them have been created in Nigeria after the colonization times. Nevertheless, they have become very widespread and famous. They are quite young tough compared to the other states.
National symbols are one of the most essential parts of life in every country. National identity and unity are impossible without them. Moreover, they are a representation of national idea of a certain state. It's important to be respectful towards them in order to evoke patriotic feelings.
In every country, such signs possess various meanings. Some of them denote democracy, while the others reflect unity and prosperity. There exist plenty of different symbols, and new ones may also appear. The government always promotes them even among the schoolchildren – anthems and pledges are learnt, history and flag are observed and studied. It is vital for building a strong and independent nation.