With super mediatised ambassadors, Greece is on everyone’s lips these days, hence the blue and white flag often popping up on your TV screen. What’s the story of the Ga-la-no-lef-ci, the white and blue Greek flag? Is it blue for the sea, or is the color a tribute to Aphrodite? Regula deTraci, a writer and Greece Travel Expert, comes back on the history, sacred connections and meanings behind the flag of Greece.
‘Why blue in the Greek Flag?
History of the Greek Flag
Meanings and Symbolism of the Greek Flag
The nine stripes are said to represent the number of syllables in the Greek phrase ‘Eleutheria H Thanatos’, usually translated as ‘Freedom or Death!’, a battle cry during the final revolt against the Ottoman Occupation.
The equal-armed cross represents the Greek Orthodox church, the predominant religion of Greece and the only officially-recognized one. The Church played a crucial role in the fight for independence against the Ottomans, and rebellious monks fought vigorously against the Ottomans.
The color blue represents the sea which is so important to Greece and such a major portion of its economy. The white represents the waves on the ocean. Blue has also always been a color of protection, seen in the blue eye amulets used to ward off evil, and white is seen as the color of purity.
As in Greek mythology, there are always other versions and explanations. Some say the nine stripes on the Greek flag represent the Nine Muses of Greek myth, and that the colors of blue and white represent Aphrodite rising up from the seafoam.
Unusual Facts about the Greek Flag
Unlike most national flags, there is no ‘official’ shade of color required. Any blue may be used for the flag, so you will see them ranging from a relatively pale ‘baby’ blue to a deep navy blue. Most flags tend to use a dark blue or royal blue but you’ll see them in all shades around Greece.
The nickname of the Greek flag is ‘Galanolefci’, or the ‘blue and white’, similar to the way that the American flag is sometimes just called the ‘red, white and blue’.
More + to find out which European country was forced to change its official flag because it was too close to the Greek one (Okay, it’s Iceland but shhh…) read The Greek Flag: The meanings behind the flag of Greece, by Regula deTraci on About Travel / @Go Greece
Featured pictures: from Wikipedia/ DeviantArt
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