Flag of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg
Name Lion flag or Sinha flag
Use Civil and state flag, civil ensign
Proportion 1:2
Adopted 22 May 1972
Design A yellow field with two panels: the smaller hoist-side panel has only two vertical bands of green and saffron and the larger fly-side panel is the maroon field depicting the golden lion holding the kastane sword in its right fore paw in the center and four bo leaves on each corner and the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends in between the two panels, all bordering together.
Civil Ensign of Sri Lanka.svg
Variant flag of Sri Lanka
Use Civil ensign
Proportion 1:2
Adopted 1972
Design A red field with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton.
Government Ensign of Sri Lanka.svg
Variant flag of Sri Lanka
Use Blue ensign
Proportion 1:2
Adopted 1972
Design A blue field with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton.
Sri Lankan Army Flag.svg
Variant flag of Sri Lanka
Use President's Colour
Proportion 1:2
Adopted 1972
Design A defaced flag of Sri Lanka with Coat of arms of Sri Lanka
Naval Ensign of Sri Lanka.svg
Variant flag of Sri Lanka
Use Naval ensign
Proportion 1:2
Adopted 1972
Design A white field with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton.
Air Force Ensign of Sri Lanka.svg
Variant flag of Sri Lanka
Use Air Force ensign
Proportion 1:2
Adopted 2010
Design A defaced sky blue ensign with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton and Air Force roundel.

The flag of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ජාතික කොඩිය Sri Lankavay Jathika Kodiya) (Tamil: இலங்கையின் தேசியக்கொடி Ilankaiyin teciyakkoṭi), also called the Lion flag or Sinha flag, consists of a Gold lion holding a kastane sword in its right fore paw in a maroon (dark red) background with four Gold bo leaves in each corner of the background. Around the background is a Gold border and to its left are two vertical stripes of equal size in green and saffron, with the saffron stripe closest to the lion. The lion represents bravery of Sinhalese. The four Bo leaves represent four main concepts of Buddhism Mettā, Karuna, Mudita and Upeksha. The stripes represent the two main minority groups. The saffron stripe represents Tamils and the green stripe represents Muslims, and the maroon background represents the majority Sinhalese. The Gold border around the flag represents the unity of Sri Lankans.

It was adopted in 1950 following the recommendations of a committee appointed by the 1st Prime Minister of Ceylon, The Rt Hon D.S. Senanayake.


When Vijaya, the first King of Sri Lanka, arrived in Sri Lanka from India in 486 BC, he brought with him a flag with a symbol of a lion on it[citation needed]. Since then the Lion symbol played a significant role in the history of Sri Lanka. It was used extensively by North Indian prince who followed King Vijaya and it became a symbol of freedom and hope. In 162 BC, when King Dutugemunu embarked on the campaign in which he defeated the South Indian invader Ellalan, who had ruled the northern part of the island, he carried with him a banner which portrayed a lion carrying a sword on his right forepaw along with two other symbols, the Sun and the Moon.[citation needed]

The banner was in use until 1815, when the reign of the last King of the Kandyan Kingdom, King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, was brought to an end with the Kandyan nobility's signing of the Kandy convention on 2 March proclaiming King George III as King of Ceylon and replacing the Lion flag with the Union Flag as the national flag of Ceylon. The government of British Ceylon used its own flag. The Lion Flag was taken to England and kept at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

As the independence movement in Sri Lanka gained strength in the early 20th century, E. W. Perera, a prominent figure of the independence movement with the help of D. R. Wijewardene, the press baron, discovered the original Lion flag in Chelsea. A picture of it was subsequently published in a special edition of the Dinamina newspaper to mark 100 years since the end of Sri Lankan independence. The Lion flag then became a centrepiece of attraction to the public, who for the first time since the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom were now aware of its actual design.

In 1948 the flag was adapted as the national flag of the Dominion of Ceylon, however the flag underwent several changes in 1953 and again in 1972. During the same year four leaves of the Bo tree were added to the four corners of the Sri Lankan National flag under the direction of Nissanka Wijeyeratne. At the time, he was Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Chairman of the National Emblem and Flag Design Committee. Prior to 1972, the corners of the flag were occupied by symbols depicting spearheads.[1] The four Bo Leaves added by Wijeyeratne reflect the core principles of Mettha (loving kindness), Karuna (compassion), Upeksha (equanimity) & Muditha (happiness).[2][3]

1 Flag of Ceylon between 1951 and 1972.
2 Flag of Ceylon from 1948–1951.
3 Flag of British Ceylon, 1815–1948.


The national flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and its heritage as rallying device that integrates the minorities with the majority race. Most symbols in the flag have been given distinctive meanings.

Symbol Represents
The lion Represents the bravery of the people.
The bo leaves The four Buddhist virtues of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
The sword of the lion The sovereignty of the nation and the bravery of its people.
The curly hair on the lion's head Religious observance, wisdom and meditation.
The eight hairs on lion's tail The Noble Eightfold Path.
The beard of the lion Purity of words.
The handle of the sword The elements of water, fire, air and earth that the country is made of.
The nose of the lion Intelligence.
The two front paws of the lion Purity in handling wealth.
The vertical orange stripe The Tamil ethnicity.
The vertical green stripe The Muslim faith and Moor ethnicity.
The Gold border round the flag Unity of Sri Lankans.
The maroon background This represents the Sinhalese ethnic majority.

[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Volker Preuß. "Sri Lanka (Ceylon)" (in German). Retrieved 2003-09-07. 
  2. ^ Amara Samara in Sinhala. Rivira, Retrieved on 4 January 2009.
  3. ^ Salute the Flag Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. The Bottom Line, Retrieved on 4 February 2009.

External links[edit]