Dark red rectangular panel bordered yellow containing a yellow lion holding a sword upright in its right fore paw, and four bo leaves, one in each corner, and next to the hoist two vertical stripes, green and orange, also bordered yellow together.
A defaced sky blue ensign with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton and Air Force roundel.
The flag of Sri Lanka, also called the Lion Flag, consists of a gold lion, holding a kastane sword in its right fore paw, in front of a dark red background with four golden bo leaves, one in each corner. Around the background is a yellow border, and to its left are 2 vertical stripes of equal size in green and saffron, with the saffron stripe closest to the lion. The lion represents the Sinhalese ethnicity and the bravery of the Sri Lankan nation while the four Bo leaves represent Mettā, Karuna, Mudita and Upekkha. The orange stripe represents the Sri Lankan Tamils, the green stripe represents Sri Lankan Moors, and the maroon background represents the majority Sinhalese, like the lion.
It was adopted in 1950 following the recommendations of a committee appointed by the 1st Prime Minister of Ceylon, The Rt HonD.S. Senanayake.
When Vijaya, the first King of the southern parts of island of Sri Lanka, arrived in Sri Lanka from India in 486 BC, he brought with him a flag with a symbol of a lion on it. Since then the Lion symbol played a significant role in the history of Sri Lanka. It was used extensively by North Indian rulers who followed King Vijaya and it became a symbol of freedom and hope. When KingDutugemunu embarked on the campaign in which he defeated the South Indian Tamil invader Elara, who had ruled the northern and eastern parts of the island, he carried with him a banner which portrayed a lion carrying a sword on his right forepaw along with two other symbols, the Sun and the Moon.
Then, as the independence movement in Sri Lanka gained strength in the early 20th century, E. W. Perera, a prominent figure of the independence movement with the help of D. R. Wijewardene, the press baron, discovered the original Lion flag in Chelsea. A picture of it was subsequently published in a special edition of the Dinamina newspaper to mark 100 years since the end of Sri Lankan independence. The Lion flag then became a centrepiece of attraction to the public, who for the first time since the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom were now aware of its actual design.
In 1948 the flag was adapted as the national flag of the Dominion of Ceylon, however the flag underwent several changes in 1953 and again in 1972. During the same year four leaves of the Bo tree were added to the four corners of the Sri LankanNational flag under the direction of Nissanka Wijeyeratne. At the time, he was Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Chairman of the National Emblem and Flag Design Committee. Prior to 1972, the corners of the flag were occupied by symbols depicting spearheads. The four Bo Leaves added by Wijeyeratne reflect the core principles of Mettha (loving kindness), Karuna (compassion), Upeksha (equanimity) & Muditha (happiness).
1 Flag of Ceylon between 1951 and 1972. 2 Flag of Ceylon from 1948–1951. 3 Flag of British Ceylon, 1815–1948.
The national flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and its heritage as rallying device that integrates the minorities with the majority race. However, minorities are shown as such with percentage based allocation on the flag, rather than equal basis as is common elsewhere including the United Kingdom. Most symbols in the flag have been given distinctive meanings.
The Lion and the golden colour of lion
Represents the Sinhalese ethnicity and the bravery of the Sri Lankan nation.
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 and the braveness of its people.