The Greek flag is popularly known all over the world, it features an equal-armed white cross on the blue ground in the upper left corner of the flag while the remaining area is filled with nine alternating horizontal stripes in blue and white color. The top and bottom stripes of the flag are usually blue. The flag dates back to 1822 after Greece got its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. The flag was later adopted officially as the sole national flag on December 22, 1978.
Meanings and Symbolism of the Greek flag: The nine stripes in the flag symbolize the number of syllables in the Greek phrase Eleutheria H Thanatos which means Freedom or Death. It is also the battle cry during the final revolt against the Ottoman era. According to Greek mythology, the nine stripes on the flag could also mean the nine muses while the blue and white colors symbolize Aphrodite rising from the sea.
The equal-armed cross on the flag symbolizes the Greek Orthodox church which is a popular religion in the country. The church also played a great role in the fight for independence as the rebellious monks fought bravely against the Ottomans. The color blue depicts the Mediterranean Sea and it plays a huge role in the economy and culture of the country. The blue color is also known as a color of protection and you will see it in the blue eye amulets for warding off evil while the white color is regarded as the color of purity.
History of the Greek Flag: The Greek flag origin has been a subject of debate for decades and the only known fact is that it was adopted by Greece officially on December 22, 1978. During the Ottoman occupation of the country and the first few years of the Greek War of Independence which is between 1821-1829, lots of flags were used by different people and some features emblems, mottoes, and saints. The Greeks then try to close the version of the flag to the one used now in other to rally the nation under a central administration in 1822.
Did you know that the cross on the Greek flag symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy? Yes, that’s right! It is the established religion of Greece, the Greek population in mainland Greece but also the Islands is Christian orthodox by more than 90%.
Facts about the Greek Flag
- The old land flag is a central white cross on a blue field and if you are lucky, you can see them at the Old Parliament building in Athens which is now the home of the National Historical Museum.
- Iceland was forced to change its non-official flag which was popularly used by Icelandic republicans in around 1900 because it is believed to be similar to the former Greek flag.
National Flag Days: Greece has varieties of holidays where you will see the Greek flag flying from 8 am to sunset. The three main days are March 25, the anniversary of the Greek War of Independence, October 28, the anniversary of the refusal to accept Benito Mussolini, an Italian dictator’s ultimatum during the Second World War, and November 17 which is also called Polytechnic Day. The flag will also be flown at half-mast on the days of national mourning.
Other Flags Seen in Greece: You are going to find a European Union flag flying beside the Greek flag at the official government buildings in Greece. The European flag has a deep blue color with 12 gold stars which represent unity and peace across the continent. You may also discover blue flags close to the pristine beaches in Greece. This flag features a blue background with a large white circle of waves and it is usually awarded to beaches that meet the standards of cleanliness and sustainability.
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