The Greek flag meaning and history

greek flag-smallThe Greek flag is called “Galanolefki” which means “blue and white”. Originally it was blue with a white diagonal cross. The cross is now situated in the upper left corner, and symbolizes the Christian faith.
The Greek flag, as it stands, adopted by the First National Assembly of Epidaurus, which was convened in 1822. The need to build a
certain flag for the new born state, was presented with the beginning of the Greek Revolution of 1821 and when the Greeks achieved their first victories against the Ottomans This was needed even as a means of rallying among all the groups and chieftains, who until then they had their own flags and pennants.
There are many speculations about the origins of the colours and the shape of the Greek flag. Some of them they say that the white and blue colour symbolized the uniforms of the revolution fighters (White kilts of fighters in the mainland and blue baggy trousers of the seafarers).

It is also said that the white symbolizes the foam of the waves and the blue the sky of Greece. In addition alleged that white was the naval flag of the Greek islands, at the beginning of the revolution. Another speculation is that blue is the colour of the sea, and Greece being a seafarers country, it could hardly have any other colour. Blue is also a lucky colour, which will ward off evil according to superstition. White is the colour of freedom, and that is something the Greeks hold very dear after years of enslavement under the Turks. However, we can’t say definitely from were came from the colours of the Greek flag. The nine stripes each symbolize a syllable in the Greek motto of freedom: E-LEY-THE-RI-A-I-THA-NA-TOS, which translates Freedom or Death. For the nine stripes there are also different opinions, of which the most appropriate is probably the one that says that in ancient times the number nine was sacred.

During the reign of τηε Bavarian kin Otto who was imposed in Greece in 1830, the royal medals were added to the flag of the army and navy. The trade flag was set to be like the flag of the navy, without the medals.
In 1862, with the overthrow of Otto’s reign, the royal medals were removed from the flags. During the reign of George I, the royal crown was added to the flags of the army and navy.

In 1864, the infantry flag was set to carry in its center the image of Saint George, patron saint of the infantry. On March 25, 1924, the Ministries of Defense and Navy removed the crowns from the flags, executing the resolution of the Fourth Constituent Assembly in Athens on the proclamation of the Republic.
The official flag was set to be used by ministries, embassies, public or municipal services and fortresses, and the national flag by warships and merchant ships, naval and port stores and institutions, consulates and individuals.

On October 10, 1935, the crowns were restored to the flags with the resolution of the National Assembly in Athens On the abolition of the reigning Republic. In 1967, the divtatorship of the Colonels removed the crown from the flags, and in 1969 a new resolution abolished the infantry flag and established it as the official flag of the Navy. After the change of government in 1974 regulated in detail the shape and dimensions of the flag as is today.

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History of the Greek Flag

first-greek-flag Throughout the Turkish occupation, there was no lack of revolutionary movements of enslaved Greeks.
In all these rebellions, a flag was raised, “en panion”, an impromptu invention of each leader, a normal fact since there was no single state entity to impose a common emblem.

Most flags had some common characteristics (Byzantine purple, double-headed or single-headed eagle, etc.), with the most important of all being the cross, because the Church was the main rallying factor of the Greeks during the Turkish rule.

Very quickly the cross was imposed as the religious and political emblem of the subjugated nation, to such an extent that clerics led rebellions using the sacred banners of their churches as flags.

At the beginning of the Revolution of 1821, many flags appeared with various representations, according to the imagination of each leader, based on his hatred of the Turks, his historical knowledge, family traditions and religious piety.

Immediately after the capture of Tripolitsa, Papaflessas cut a piece from the inner side of his waistcoat and at the same time asked the chieftain Panagiotis Kephalas to tear two strips from his white shirt.

The history of the first post-revolutionary years also gave a romantic dimension to the flag, the result of a collaboration between a soldier and a priest, stating that the thief’s bravery supported her hopes in the Christian faith.

On January 1, 1822, the First National Assembly convened in Piada, Epidaurus. Among the many things that were discussed was the question of establishing a single revolutionary flag, in order to stop the confusion that prevailed until then from the appearance of dozens of flags.

With an Article of the Provisional Government of Greece, the uniform flag was defined to symbolize “God’s wisdom, Freedom and the Motherland” and it was established that it should bear the cross as a symbol and the colors blue and white. On March 15, 1822 in Corinth, the Executive Body by Decree 540 specified the details of the above decision.

The flag of the “powers against the earth” would be square, blue in color, with a white cross in the middle. The naval flag was distinguished into war and commercial. The polemic was divided into nine horizontal parallelograms. In its upper inner corner was a blue square with a white cross in the middle.

The above was also approved and ratified by the Political Constitution of Greece in Troizina (May 1827), stipulating that the Greeks should not use other flags both on land and at sea. The above order was applied universally at first, as it clashed with the strong local spirit of the revolutionaries.

Gradually, however, blue and white prevailed, ending the confusion due to the various colors and shapes. On July 30, 1828, the governor Ioannis Kapodistrias issued a resolution according to which “the warships and merchant ships of Greece want to fly the same flag, the one that has been of war until today”, thus restoring a great injustice against the Greek merchant fleet. who had borne the brunt of the Struggle for Independence.

As for the reasoning behind the choice of colors (white and blue), the series and the symbols that were sought, there are various opinions, which even today lead to a dichotomy among historians.

With the choice of blue, the color of the sky, the divinity of the Struggle is indicated, since God inspired the nation with the great idea, although weak and unarmed, to undertake and bring to a happy end that unequal struggle.

White signifies the clean, innocent and pure purpose of the Greeks whose only pursuit was the liberation and independence of the nation and its liberation from the long-standing cruel tyranny. Besides, according to the prevailing version, the nine blue and white bands represent the nine syllables of the phrase “Liberty or Death”, which was also the oath of the lads of the Revolution”.

What is certain is that in none of the official government documents, through which the flag in question was established, there is no justification for this particular color choice and shape. It seems that the blue and white still keeps its secrets well hidden. However, it continues to inspire.