vexillology (veksəˈläləjē)

 

The Rio Olympics are well underway, making this a great time to engage in vexillology.

Vexillology is the study of flags. It originates from the Latin word vexillum, which means flag, and contains the Greek suffix -logy, which means study of.

There are 206 countries, each with their own unique flag, participating in this year’s Olympics. Some particularly fascinating flags belong to the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Japan. Bhutan’s flag depicts the national symbol of the country, Druk, the Thunder Dragon.  Nepal’s flag is the only flag in the world that is not rectangular or square; it consists of two pennants stacked on each other, which represent the peaks of the Himalayan mountains. Japan’s flag is beautiful in its simplicity – a solitary red disc, symbolizing the sun, on a white background.

The Olympic flag itself is quite interesting. It depicts five colorful rings, each of which represents a continent. The interlocking rings represent the unity of the continents and the meeting of athletes from all over the world.

Are any of you vexillophiles? If so, which flags are your favorite?

LEGO (lā-gō)

Many months ago, my family and I visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. While we were there, we spent a majority of the time at the Brick by Brick exhibit. This exhibit featured gargantuan LEGO-built structures of famous landmarks from all around the world.

These buildings were awe-inspiring in their extreme attention to detail; each structure was made with thousands of LEGO bricks. My favorite structures were the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pyramids of Egypt, and the Colosseum in Rome.

LEGO is an abbreviation that comes from the Danish words leg and godt, which mean “play well.”  In Latin, “lego” means “I choose.” This seems to be the perfect name for a company that allows children of all ages to play with their product in any way they choose- limited only by their imaginations.