The Greek flag is one of the most recognizable flags in Europe but many wonder why the colors and patterns have been chosen by the founders of Democracy.
History of the Greek Flag
The current flag of Greece was officially adopted on December 22, 1978. In the earlier versions the cross spread diagonally across the entire flag.
>>Learn more about the History of Greece
The colors of the Greek Flag
The flag of Greece comprises only two colors: blue and white. Blue represents the Hellenic Sea, while White represents its restless waves. These are also linked to the Greek Mythology. According to legend, Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty of love, emerged from those waves.
>>more information on the Greek Gods
The design and symbols
According to one theory, the nine white stripes represent the number of syllables in the phrase: Eleftheria i Thanatos (English: “Liberty or Death”). That was the motto during the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Others say that the stripes represent the number of letters in the word Eleftheria (English: “Freedom”).
The pattern was chosen because of the similarity with the wavy Hellenic Sea.
The Hellenic Square Cross located on the upper left-side of the flag (and occupying ¼ of the total area) represents the respect and the devotion the Hellenic people have for the Greek Orthodox Church and hence demonstrates the importance of Christianity for the Greeks.
Did you know?
Unlike most national flags, the Greek flag doesn’t have any “official shade” of color required. That’s why you can see various shades of blue being used, from the pale (“baby”) blue to deep navy blue.
Along with the Greek flag, you’ll also see the European Union flag (see photo right) displayed in Greece. That’s a requirement for all European Union countries. The EU flag (deep blue with a circle of gold stars on it) is displayed at all official spots within Greece.