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Kyrgyz 'Cross'

No, the crossed triple-curved lines in the centre of the Kyrgyz flag are not supposed to represent a Christian cross.

Kyrgyz 'Cross'

Kyrgyz flag

Without a doubt, there is a cross in the flag of the Kyrgyz Republic, but equally without doubt is that it's not intended to be a Christian cross.

Kyrgyz flag

And why should it? Whilst not having an official state religion, most Kyrgyz consider themselves to be Muslim. The second-largest religion is Christianity (Russian Orthodox), and their crosses tend to have the triple-bar pattern, as shown on the right, rather than triple curves.

Kyrgyz flag

The crossed triple curves in the Kyrgyz flag represent the traditional framework of a nomad's tent, generally known as a yurt (Kyrgyz: түндүк, also written as tündükand pronounced "tyndyk").

Hammer and Sickle

Stretching one's imagination, the colours of the flag, the curves and the crossed members, have some similarities with the 20th century Soviet hammer and sickle, representing the worker-peasant alliance background of socialist states. This may have been a deliberate attempt to appease anyone in the country who mourned the passing of communist rule.

There is a hint also of religion, with the Islamic crescent-shaped curves and the Christian X-shaped cross, which may have been intended to appease those who prefer religion to influence the state.

But the yurt represents neither political nor religious ideology, rather it complements the 40 rays of the sun symbol, representing the 40 ancient tribes, long before the Soviet era, relating to people's basic and everyday life and commonly shared by all in a harmonious society. Of course, politics and religion can be central to people's lives, and yet those are deeply personal convictions which may not agree with those of one's neighbour.

So for a civil flag, we cannot criticise the absence of ideological meaning. On the contrary, we can congratulate the country for enjoying this symbol of self-determination.

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