Few symbols are more synonymous with a country that its flag, and the Greek flag is no exception. With its blue and white stripes and the cross in the upper corner, it is a recognizable symbol of Greek pride. Like the country that it represents, the Greek flag has a rich and distinct history. It is also highly symbolic. Here’s more information about it:
When the Flag Was Adopted
There have been many forms of the flag that have taken shape since the start of the Greek War of Independence, which began in 1822. Since that time, the country has had many forms of government, and because of that, there have been different designs. The current flag has been in effect since 1978, which is shortly after the Military Junta that took place in the 1970’s.
Meaning and Appearance of The Flag
Formally known as the “Sky Blue and White”, Greece’s flag is a banner comprised of nine alternating blue and white horizontal stripes. In the upper left corner, the emblem is decorated with a white cross draping a solid blue background.
Most agree that the white cross represents Orthodox Christianity, which is the main faith of the Greek people. However, there is some controversy as to what the nine stripes represent. Some believe that the design of the stripes stands for the number of syllables contained in a famous Greek saying loosely translated in English as “Freedom or Death,” which rose to prominence during the nation and its citizenry’s final incursion against the Ottoman Empire.
Others believe that these symbols are thought to represent the Nine Muses of Greek mythology, who were thought to be the inspiration behind well-known works of ancient Greek disciplines like poetry, music, history and dance.
The colors themselves are also thought to have important symbolize, but this is also under debate. Some argue that blue and white depicts the famed Greek Goddess Aphrodite’s emergence from the sea. Others believe that blue represents the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, which surrounds the nation and many of its islands. There are also those who maintain that the blue and white stand for protection and prevents the nation and its people from evil, simplicity and purity, respectively.
National Holidays Honoring the Greek Flag
Just as the United States celebrates Flag Day on June 14th, Greece’s national insignia is honored on several special days during the calendar year. The first is March 25th, which commemorates the country’s War for Independence.
The second major yearly event celebrating the flag is Oxi Day, October 28th. It was on this day in 1940 that the Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas refused to capitulate to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s demands, which set off an intense battle between the two nations and resulted in Greek forces holding off their Italian counterparts.
The final major occasion when the Greek flag is honored is November 17, more formally known as Polytechnic Day. This commemoration honors the students attending an Athens University who stood up to oppression leveled by the military Junta on the aforementioned date in 1973.
Like every nation in the world, Greece’s flag is symbolic of the country’s history and faith. This emblem is proudly celebrated during numerous dates throughout the year and is revered across the world.