Utah's Beehive Flag has been making waves ever since the final design was released in late 2022. So when it was slated to be voted on, I traveled to Salt Lake City to be a part of flag history and do a full design breakdown.
The Design Elements
The base of the new Utah flag is red, representing the red earth and canyons of southern Utah and "perseverance". This is the portion of the flag we've turned into a rainbow in our Utah LGBTQ+ Pride Flag.
Out of the red earth comes five white peaks which denote the snowy mountains and the five historic native tribes of Utah who hold this land as sacred.
Above that is a blue sky which the final legislation says represents faith.
In the middle of the flag is a hexagon, which represents “the strength of Utah's people.”
Inside of the hexagon is beehive, Utah's famous icon. It appears everywhere in the state, including Utah’s highway signs and large statues outside of the capitol building.
Why a Beehive?
Does Utah have more bees than anywhere in the US? No, not at all. It is a symbol used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons. The beehive is a symbol that Joseph Smith and early church leaders most likely took from Freemasonry. It is used to represent prosperity and the industriousness of the Mormon people.
In the final flag legislation, it is said that the beehive represents “industry, community, and the year 1847, the year in which pioneers first settled Utah.”
And finally, under the beehive is a five pointed star that symbolizes hope and the year 1896, the year in which Utah was admitted to statehood.
Utah's new Beehive Flag is a vast improvement over it's predicessor. That flag is not going away however. It is moving to what is now considered to be a "Ceremonial Flag" used for government activities, similar to how Congress and the President use ceremonial flags.
(Note this picture above features the an earlier version of the Beehive Flag with an eight pointed star).