Staunton, April 25 – Every year on April 25, Circassians in their North Caucasus homeland and those in the diaspora around world mark the Day of the Circassian Flag, a banner which arose in the darkest hours of resistance to Russian imperial expansion that has come to symbolize the values of freedom and unity that Circassians everywhere hold dear.
The power of the flag arises from its symbolic nature. On a green field are three crossed arrows symbolizing the unity of the Circassians nation in defense of their rights and freedoms surrounded by 12 gold stars representing the sub-ethnic divisions Russian rulers have unsuccessfully attempted to break the nation into (kavtoday.ru/article/5919, justicefornorthcaucasus.info/?p=1251683102, natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=12414 and facebook.com/shebzukhoastemir/posts/3955362921252548).
This year’s commemorations in the homeland were more restricted than usual because of the pandemic, but they occurred in all of the areas where Circassians have traditionally lives. Abroad, the ceremonies were also more limited. But observers noted one important detail: Even more than in the past, those taking part were more often young people rather than their elders.
That is a hopeful sign because it means that Circassian traditions are being successfully handed down from one generation to another, giving hope that the Circassian flag will ultimately fly over a reunited Circassian state and that the values of that nation will be realized (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/1927/posts/48942 and natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=12414).
Much of the commemoration this year as was the case in 2020 took place online, something that led some to suggest the holiday was fading. But in fact, the shift to an online format linked the Circassian communities of the world closer together and sparked greater activism among the young (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/04/marking-day-of-circassian-flag-online.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/05/online-social-networks-prove-to-be.html).