Flag of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg
Name Lion Flag
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 (Sinhalese: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ජාතික කොඩිය, translit. Śrī Laṃkāvē jāthika kodiya; Tamil: இலங்கையின் தேசியக்கொடி, translit. 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 background with four gold bo leaves in each corner. This is bordered by gold, 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 and the maroon background represent the Sinhalese, while the saffron border and four Bo leaves represent Buddhism and the four Buddhist concepts of Mettā, Karuṇā, Muditā and Upeskhā respectively. The stripes represent the two main minorities: the orange representing the Sri Lankan Tamils and the green representing Muslims.

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


The symbol of a lion in Sri Lankan heraldry dates back to 486 BC, when Vijaya, the first King of Sri Lanka, arrived on the island from India and brought with him a standard depicting a lion.[1]. The symbol appears to have influenced subsequent monarchs, being used extensively by them and becoming a symbol of freedom and hope: King Dutugemunu embarked on his campaign against Ellalan- an invading South Indian ruler- in 162 BC bearing a banner depicting a lion carrying a sword in its right forepaw , a symbol of the Sun and one of the Moon.[1]

This basic design continued to be in use until 1815, when the Kandyan Convention ended the reign of the country's last native monarch, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, replacing his royal standard (used as the Flag of the Kingdom of Kandy) with the Union Flag as the nation's accepted flag.[1] The government of British Ceylon later established its own flag, while Sri Vikrama Rajasinha's standard was taken to England and kept at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.[1]

As the independence movement in Sri Lanka gained strength in the early 20th century, E. W. Perera and D. R. Wijewardena discovered the original Lion Flag in Chelsea.[1] A photo of it was published in Dinamina, in a special edition marking a century since the loss of self-rule and Sri Lankan independence.[1] The flag provoked much interest from the public who, for the first time since the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom, had seen its actual design.[1]

Member of Parliament for Batticaloa, Mudaliyar A. Sinnalebbe, suggested in Parliament on January 16, 1948 that the Lion Flag should be accepted as the national flag.[2] In 1948, the flag was adopted as the national flag of the Dominion of Ceylon, undergoing two changes: one in 1953 and a redesign in 1972.[1] A notable feature of 1972's adaptation of the Kandyan standard was the replacement of the four spearheads at the flag's corners by four bo leaves, a design choice made under the direction of Nissanka Wijeyeratne, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Chairman of the National Emblem and Flag Design Committee.[1][3]


The national flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and its heritage as a rallying device. Most symbols in the flag have been given distinctive meanings.[4][5]

Symbol Represents
The lion The Sinhala 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
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
The nose of the lion Intelligence
The two front paws of the lion Purity in handling wealth
Orange stripe The Tamil ethnicity
Green stripe The Muslim faith and Moor ethnicity
Gold border Other minority ethnicities
The maroon background Other minority faiths

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Sri Lankan National Flag". sundaytimes.lk. The Sunday Times. 4 February 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  2. ^ "The proposer of the lion flag: Mudlr. Sinnalebbe". Daily News. 4 February 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  3. ^ Volker Preuß. "Sri Lanka (Ceylon)" (in German). Retrieved 2003-09-07. 
  4. ^ "National symbols of Sri Lanka". gov.lk. Government of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  5. ^ Karunarathne, Waruni (27 April 2015). "Controversy Over Flag At Demo". thesundayleader.lk. Sunday Leader. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 

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