This article examines the saliency of symbols of partisanship and division in deeply divided societies, as against the difficulty of establishing symbols of unity and accord in post-settlement situations. The examples of Northern Ireland and South Africa are used. In both situations, there was a heavy usage of symbols and symbolism during periods of conflict or single group domination. Following the 1994 South African transition and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, there have been attempts to promote symbols of unity and accord to signify the establishment of new, inclusive, political dispensations. The article begins by outlining the importance of symbols and symbolism in politics in general, playing particular attention to their increased significance during peace processes. There follows an examination of attempts to develop and promote symbols of unity and accord in the post-settlement periods in South Africa and Ireland. The conclusion assesses the 'success' of these symbolic attempts to reinforce political transitions and suggests reasons why these attempts often fail.