The need for a national flag was acknowledged much before Srilanka attained its independence on 4th February 1948. D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of Srilanka, had appointed an Advisory Committee for the formulation of a national flag.
- In 1950, the committee approved the design of the national flag and it retained the lion symbol with the sword, the Bo-leaves and the green and yellow vertical stripes.
- The contemporary National Flag of Srilanka is an improvisation of the civil standard of Srilanka's last king, Sri Wickrama Rajasingha.
- With the exception of the new Bo leaves, the current Srilankan flag is the same flag that was suggested by the National Flag Formulation Committee on 2nd March, 1951. On March 3, 1950, the National Flag was hoisted for the first time.
- Since the attainment of independence from Britain in 1948, the design of the Srilankan flag has been modified several times in an attempt to accomplish national unity.
Symbolic Representation of the National Flag
Having been designed with much care and purpose, the National Flag of Srilanka stands for the country's spirit of unity and also represents its culture and heritage. Each symbol of the National Flag has a special significance which is as follows:
- The lion: represents the Sinhala race
- The sword of the lion: represents the country's Sovereignty.
- The lion's tail: signifies the noble eight fold path of Buddhism
- Curly hair on the lion's head: indicates religious observance, meditation and wisdom
- The beard: denotes purity of words
- The sword handle: highlights the four elements of earth, fire, air and water.
- The nose: indicates intelligence
- The two front paws: profess to purity in handling wealth
- The orange vertical stripe: represents the minority Tamil race
- The green vertical stripe: represents the minority Muslim race.
- The yellow border: represents other minor races
- The Bo leaves: represents Buddhism and its influence and also stand for the four virtues of Kindness, Friendliness, Happiness and Equanimity.
- The color maroon: represents the other minor religions.