Day of Circassian Flag

Day of Circassian Flag

By: Adel Bashqawi

25 April, 2020

Gathering of the confederated princes of Circassia on the banks of the Ubin. 1836. Wikimedia

Gathering of the confederated princes of Circassia on the banks of the Ubin. 1836. Wikimedia


The flag is a piece of material used to be produced, identified to be “usually rectangular piece of fabric of distinguished design that is used as a symbol (as of a nation),” [1] that could include emblem, colors and other symbols. It is considered a national element that identifies a specific people, nation or various peoples and nations. Nations’ flags are deemed attached to homeland, because they express and determine the national identity.

The Circassian Flag Adoption Stages

The Circassian flag was born from the womb of the Circassian Question, during the Russian-Circassian War, at a time when the nation was in dire need to establish a symbol uniting all the Circassian tribes during the grinding defensive war that was still existing during the nineteenth century, which showed and confirmed the Circassian national identity. Thus, in light of the Circassians’ knowledge of the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829, which was signed between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire behind their back, Circassian leaders headed by Prince Zan concluded at the time, that “their homeland became prey to the greedy countries, while he {began to realize that the greater tragedy lies in the fact that the Circassians will find themselves being cornered between Europe & Russia which would resemble a mill, and Circassia would be like a seed of wheat that will be crushed into flour}.” [2]

The situation required designing and presenting a flag that represents the entire Circassian nation. The birth of the Circassian flag is narrated by the Circassian author Ishac Mashbesh in his book Between the Millstones. He noted that one of the Circassian princes, Seferebi Zan, who went to Istanbul in the early 1830’s “was hospitalized for two months” due to broken ribs, when he was exposed to violence “during a demonstration against Russians in Istanbul.” At the time, he dealt only with “three Circassians—Mohamed Selkhur, H’ouri Khanem, and Ismael Bek.” [3]

Certainly, this was the time to take a historic initiative. “One day when Selkhur visited Prince Zan, the latter presented a folded paper, passed it to Selkhur, and asked him about his opinion about its contents. Selkhur was surprised, and then Zan emotionally replied that it was the Circassian unity flag (Baraq), saying that during his long hospitalization, he thought considerably about a symbol for the Circassian unity and he concluded on the contents of the paper … within a few days, H’ouri Khanem brought the readied flag, so it was ready to be sent to Circassia.” [4]

Prince Seferbi Zan continues, “when you lie down in a hospital bed away from your homeland and family, you experience many thoughts, you can dream with your heart and brain about your homeland, your village, the river, the sky and to clearly hear the birds’ songs in the forest, thus the color of the flag should reflect the spring color about the homeland, the color of the meadows and forests, and will have twelve gold stars and three crossed arrows.” [5]

Contrary to attempts to promote invented and fabricated inaccurate information, by some of the unsung analysts regarding the representation of the flag’s stars for specific Circassian tribes, Prince Zan refuted and disproved the empty claims as if he was clearly reading the future (and what is expected with a keen eye): “The flag contained twelve gold stars and three crossed arrows.” Regarding the symbols presented on the science, “Zan explained that each of the twelve stars represents a Circassian tribe and that they are all equally represented without prejudice, they are all equal in the unity. As to the crossed arrows they represent that the Circassians do not seek war, but will defend themselves when attacked … there is no discrimination or preference of any tribe over the others.” [6]

Flag Commemoration

The flag was designed, produced, then unanimously approved by the representatives of the Circassian tribes in the Valley of Psevaba, in 1836, which “Circassian national unity was declared,” during the war, imposed on the Circassian nation. Tens of thousands of Circassians have perished while defending this flag, being the national symbol of the Circassian nation. The Republic of Adygeya adopted the Circassian flag to be the republic’s national flag on 23.03.1992.[7]

In later years, and based on the demands of Circassians everywhere, whether in their homeland or in the Diaspora, a progress has been achieved. “Since 2010, when the International Circassian Association first initiated the holiday, 25 April has been celebrated annually as Circassian Flag Day by Circassians living in more than 50 countries, including Russia.” [8]


Facts have proven that this flag in green and golden colors, and what it embodies regarding the interconnection between the components of the Circassian nation, will remain a guiding torch and waving flag in which everyone will hoist. “The flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.” [9]


[1] (

[2] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[3] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[4] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[5] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[6] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[7] (

[8] (

[9] (

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