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Flag of Sri Lanka

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Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Sinha Flag
Lion Flag
UseCivil and state flag, civil ensign Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag
Adopted22 May 1972
DesignA golden field with two panels: the smaller hoist-side panel has only two vertical bands of teal and orange and the larger fly-side panel is the maroon field depicting the golden lion holding a kastane sword in its right fore paw in the center and four bo tree (bodhi tree) leaves on each corner, and the golden field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends in between the two panels, all bordering together.
UseAuxiliary ensign used by merchant ship commanded by reserve naval officer
DesignA blue field with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton.
UsePresident's Colour
DesignA defaced flag of Sri Lanka with the Emblem of Sri Lanka
UseNaval ensign Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag
DesignA white field with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton.
UseCivil ensign Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag
DesignA red field with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton.
UseAir Force ensign
DesignA defaced sky-blue ensign with the flag of Sri Lanka in the canton and Air Force roundel.

The flag of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ජාතික කොඩිය, romanized: Sri Lankave jathika kodiya; Tamil: இலங்கையின் தேசியக்கொடி, romanized: Ilankaiyin teciyakkoṭi), also called the Sinha Flag or Lion Flag, consists of a golden lion holding a kastane sword in its right fore-paw in a maroon background with four gold bo leaves, one in each corner. This is bordered by gold, and to its left are two vertical stripes of equal size in teal and orange, with the orange stripe closest to the lion. The lion and the maroon background represent the Sinhalese, while the saffron border and four bo leaves represent the concepts of meththa, karuṇā, muditā and upecka respectively. The stripes represent the country's two largest ethnicities, with the orange representing the Tamils inhabitants—namely the Sri Lankan Tamils and the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka—and the teal stripe representing the Sri Lankan Moors (Muslims of Sri Lanka). The golden yellow border is a catch-all representing the various minority communities of the country.


As depicted on a mural in Cave no. 2 at Dambulla Viharaya, King Dutugemunu on his campaign against Ellalan- an invading South Indian ruler- in 162 BC is depicted with a banner containing a lion figure carrying a sword in its right forepaw, a symbol of the Sun and one of the Moon.[1] This flag was known as the only ancient representation of the lion flag of the Sinhalese but in 1957, the lion figure on it was defaced by a vandal.[2]

This basic design continued to be in use until 1815, when the Kandyan Convention ended the reign of the country's last native monarch, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, replacing his royal standard (used as the Flag of the Kingdom of Kandy) with the Union Flag as the nation's accepted flag.[3] The government of British Ceylon later established its own flag, while Sri Vikrama Rajasinha's standard was taken to England and kept at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.[3]

As the independence movement in Sri Lanka gained strength in the early 20th century, E. W. Perera and D. R. Wijewardena discovered the original Lioness Flag in Chelsea.[3] A photo of it was published in Dinamina, in a special edition marking a century since the loss of self-rule and Sri Lankan independence.[3] The flag provoked much interest from the public who, for the first time since the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom, had seen its actual design.[3]

Member of Parliament for Batticaloa, Mudaliyar A. Sinnalebbe, suggested in Parliament on January 16, 1948, that the Lion Flag should be accepted as the national flag.[4] In 1948, the flag was adopted as the national flag of the Dominion of Ceylon, undergoing two changes: one in 1953 and a redesign in 1972.[3] A notable feature of 1972's adaptation of the Kandyan standard was the replacement of the four spearheads at the flag's corners by four bo leaves, a design choice made under the direction of Nissanka Wijeyeratne, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Chairman of the National Emblem and Flag Design Committee.[3][5]

Monarchical Sri Lanka
British Ceylon period
Sri Lanka (since 1948)


The national flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and its heritage as a rallying device. Most symbols in the flag have been given distinctive meanings.[6][7]

Symbol Represents
The Lion The Sinhala ethnicity and the strength of the nation
The bo leaves The four Buddhist virtues of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity
The sword of the lion The sovereignty of the nation
The curly hair on the lion's head Religious observance, wisdom and meditation
The eight hairs on the lion's tail The Noble Eightfold Path
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
Orange stripe The Tamil ethnicity (including the Hill Country Tamils of Indian ancestry)
Teal stripe The Moor ethnicity
Saffron border Buddhism and unity among the people
The maroon background The Sinhala ethnicity
The golden yellow border Other minority communities of Sri Lanka, such as the Malays, the Burghers, the Indigenous Veddas, the Kaffirs and, the Sri Lankan Chinese, who migrated to Sri Lanka during the 17th–19th centuries.


The colors of the national flag are specified in the document "SLS 1: 2020: Specification for the National Flag of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka".[8]

Colours scheme
Yellow Maroon Orange Teal
CMYK 0-26-90-3 0-80-66-42 0-48-100-13 100-0-9-63
HEX #F7B718 #941E32 #DF7500 #005F56
RGB 247-183-24 148-30-50 223-117-0 0-95-86
Pantone 14-0957 TCX 19-1863 TCX 16-1164 TCX 18-5322 TCX


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Seneviratna, Anuradha (1983). Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla: Caves of infinite Buddhas. Central Cultural Fund. p. 9.
  2. ^ Godakumbura, C.E. (1969). History of archaeology in Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol XIII). p. 36. We all agree with Deraniyagala when he considers that the defacing of the lion depicted upon Dutugemunu's flag in the famous Dambulla frescoes as a national loss. This, so far as we know, is the only ancient representation of the lion-flag of the Sinhalese.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Sri Lankan National Flag". sundaytimes.lk. The Sunday Times. 4 February 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  4. ^ "The proposer of the lion flag: Mudlr. Sinnalebbe". Daily News. 4 February 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ Volker Preuß. "Sri Lanka (Ceylon)" (in German). Retrieved 7 September 2003.
  6. ^ "National symbols of Sri Lanka". gov.lk. Government of Sri Lanka. Archived from the original on 28 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  7. ^ Karunarathne, Waruni (27 April 2015). "Controversy Over Flag At Demo". thesundayleader.lk. Sunday Leader. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  8. ^ "SLS 1:2020" (PDF). Sri Lanka Standards Institute. Retrieved 7 April 2022.


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