The flag of Greece has nine horizontal stripes of blue and white, alternating, with blue on the top and bottom. In the canton is a white cross on a blue background. The nine stripes of the Greek flag represent the syllables in the Greek saying, “Freedom or Death” (Eleftheria i thanatos) and the nine letters in the Greek word for “freedom” (eleftheria). Another theory for the significance of the nine stripes is the traditional nine Greek Muses.
The blue and white cross in the canton represents the Greek religion, Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The exact shade of blue used in the Greek flag has varied over history, but recently is typically a deeper blue.
Blue and white have long been associated with Greece, referencing the sky and sea and the nation's cultural heritage. The colors may have been used to represent Greek gods and goddesses, like Achilles and Athena. They may have also been used during Byzantine and Ottoman rule.
History of the Greek Flag
The Greek flag used blue and white stripes and the cross as far back as 1822, when it was used as the naval ensign. It became commonly used as a national ensign from 1828 along with a national flag that was just the blue and white cross. Over history, several versions of the flag were used. Some rulers added their coat of arms or a crown to the flag. The current flag was most recently adopted as the national flag in 1978.
Greek Flag Day is October 27.
Last Updated On : January 16, 2013