Flag of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Adopted September 7, 1978 [1]
Designed by Committee apointed by D.S. Senanayake [2]
Proportions 1:2 or 5:9 [3]

The flag of Sri Lanka, also called the Lion Flag, consists of gold lion passant, holding a sword in its right fore paw, in front of a crimson background with four golden bo leaves in each corner. Around the background is a yellow border, and to its left are 2 vertical stripes of equal size in saffron and green, with the saffron stripe closest to the lion.

It was adopted in 1951 following the recommendations of a committee appointed by the 1st Prime Minister of Ceylon (now know as Sri Lanka) D.S. Senanayake.


Flag of Ceylon

The flag used after Sri Lanka gained indepedence, from 1948 - 1951.

For many years the lion was a symbol of hope and freedom. It was extensively used by Sri Lankan monarchs, until Ceylon (as the country was then called) was brought under the British Empire in 1815.[4] After that point the British Empire used the Union Jack.

The flag was then forgotten by everybody, including the Sri Lankan population, until its re-discovery by a Sri Lankan independence supporter, who found it in Chelsea, England. The design was then published in a newspaper and was once again made known to the Sri Lankan public.

After Sri Lanka gained it's independence from Britain an MP of the Sri Lankan Parliament suggested that the flag be re-adopted as a symbol of the Sri Lankan independence. The motion carried and the flag was again used. The year was 1948. On March 6, the same year the Prime Minister appointed a seven member National flag Committee headed by the leader of the House Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike to advise him on the question of the National flag of Ceylon. After several sittings spread over two years, the committee gave its final recommendations on February 13, 1950, and the flag was changed to a design very similar to the current one. The changes were adopted in 1951.

Flag of Ceylon 1951-1972

The flag used by Sri Lanka (Ceylon) after it was altered by the government three years after their independence.

In 1972 the leaves replaced "finials" that were previously located in the corners. In 1978 the leaves were made more "natural".[5][6]


The National Flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and its heritage as rallying device that integrates the minorities with the majority race.

Most symbols in the flag have been given distinctive meanings.

Symbol Represents
The lion The Sinhalese ethnicity
The bo leaves Buddhism and its influence on the nation. They also stand for the four virtues of Kindness, Friendliness, Happiness and Equanimity.
The sword of the lion The sovereignty of the nation
The tail of the lion The noble eightfold path of Buddhism
The curly hair on the lion's head Religious observance, wisdom and meditation
The beard of the lion Purity of words
The handle of the sword The elements of water, fire, air and earth
The nose of the lion Intelligence
The two front paws of the lion Purity in handling wealth.
The vertical orange stripe The Tamil ethnicity
The vertical green stripe The Muslim faith and Moorish ethnicity
The yellow border round the flag People from other cultures living in Sri Lanka
The crimson background Other minor religions



  1. Sri Lanka Flag at
  3. Sri Lanka
  4. Wikipedia
  5. The Sri Lankan Lion flag -how it came to be
  7. The National Flag of Sri Lanka
Featured Featured Article Sri Lanka
This page was featured on the VexiWiki main page on December 2008.
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