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Sri Lanka Flag


Flag of Sri Lanka
Flag Name(s)Sinha Flag ("Lion Flag") [Flag Of Sri Lanka]
Aspect Ratio(1:2)
Color Schemeyellow maroon,orange,green
Color and 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 tree (bodhi tree) 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.

Meaning & SymbolismThe lion and the maroon background represent the Sinhalese people, while the saffron border and four bo leaves represent concepts of mettā, karuṇā, muditā and upekshā; meaning loving-kindness, self-compassion, joy, and equanimity, respectively. The stripes represent the country's two largest minorities, with the orange representing the Tamils living in Sri Lanka – both the native Sri Lankan Tamils and the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka – and the green representing the Muslims of Sri Lanka.
Description and Brief History

The flag of Sri Lanka consists of a golden lion holding a kastane sword in its right fore-paw in a maroon background with four gold bo leaves, one in each corner. This is bordered by gold, and to its left are two vertical stripes of equal size in green and orange, with the orange stripe closest to the lion. The flag was officially adopted in 1972.


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. 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. 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. 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.

As the independence movement in Sri Lanka gained strength in the early 20th century, E. W. Perera and D. R. Wijewardena discovered the original Lioness Flag in Chelsea. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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.

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