The lotus flower
Macau became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on December 20th, 1999. Previously, the territory was colonized and governed by Portugal for more than 400 years. Located off Hong Kong, it is composed of three small islands: Macau, Taipa and Coloane connected by bridges. Just like the territory of Hong Kong, Macau has its own flag which can only be hoisted in the shadow of the flag of the sovereign country.
Created during a competition and gathering more than one thousand proposals, the selected flag was approved in 1993. The central pattern of the flag of Macau is a white stylized lotus flower on a green background. The flower lies on an, equally stylized, bridge overhanging water, illustrated by white horizontal stripes shaped as a basin; it is topped by an arc of five five-pointed golden stars with a central star bigger than the others.
The lotus is considered as the emblematic flower of Macau. Its three petals are judiciously representing the peninsula of Macau and the two other islands which compose the territory. The bridge under the lotus depicts the one that connecting the peninsula of Macau to the island of Taipa. The five stars recall those adorning the flag of the People's Republic of China, but with a different layout. The largest star officially represents the Chinese Communist party and the four smaller ones the classes composing Chinese society, namely workers, peasants, soldiers and the lower middle classes. Other classifications were suggested, but they all place the various classes under the aegis of the Party.
However, multiple classifications do not obliterate the ancient character of Chinese civilisation, a society full of symbols going back to immemorial times. The lotus and the layout of the five stars in particular point out such symbols that today's world can not overshadow.