From 1952 until 1975 the country had a red flag, with a white three-headed elephant (the god Erawan) in the middle. On top of the elephant is a nine-folded umbrella, while the elephant itself stands on a five-level pedestal. The white elephant is a common royal symbol in Southeast Asia, the three heads referred to the three former kingdoms Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Champasak which made up the country. The nine-folded umbrella is also a royal symbol, originating from Mt. Meru in the Buddhist cosmology.
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