Flags of Greece
Effective date 22 December 1978.
The pattern and colors of the Greek Flag have changed somewhat since the Revolution of the Hellenic Nation in 1821. Many people wonder why the founders of Democracy have chosen the symbols, pattern and colors that appear on the National Flag of Greece. It is difficult to reveal the true intentions of the people responsible for the selection of the flag.
The design, symbols and pattern of the Flag
The stripes represent the number of the syllables in the phrase: Eleftheria i Thanatos (Liberty or Death). Liberty or Death was the motto during the years of the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in the 19nth century [Others claim that the stripes reflect the number of letters in the Greek word for Freedom Eleftheria]. This word stirred the heart of the oppressed Greeks, it created intense emotions and inspired them to fight and gain their freedom after 400 years of slavery. The striped pattern was chosen because of its similarity with the wavy sea that surrounds the shores of Greece. The interchange of blue and white colors makes the Greek Flag on a windy day to look like the Aegean Pelagos (sea). Only the quaint islands are missing! The Hellenic Square Cross that rests on the upper left-side of the flag and occupies one fourth of the total area demonstrates the respect and the devotion the Hellenic people have for the Greek Orthodox Church and signifies the important role of Christianity in the formation of the modern Hellenic Nation. During the dark years of the Ottoman rule, the Greek Orthodox Church helped the enslaved Greeks to retain their cultural characteristics: the Hellenic language, the Byzantine religion and generally the Hellenic ethnic identity, by the institution of the Crypha Scholia (secret schools). The Crypha Scholia were a web of schools that operated secretly throughout Greece and were committed in transmitting to Greeks the wonders of their ancestors and the rest of their cultural heritage. Today, Christianity is still the dominant religion among Greeks. Therefore, the significance of the Cross is justified.
The colors of the Flag
Blue and White. These two colors symbolize the blue of the Hellenic Sea and the Whiteness of its restless waves! According to the mythic legends, the Goddess of Beauty and Love, Aphrodite (Venus) emerged from these waves. In addition, it reflects the blue of the Hellenic Sky and the White of the few clouds in it. There are some who speculate that the blue and white symbolize the similar color of the clothing (vrakes) of the Greek sailors during the War of Independence.