The National Flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and her heritage as rallying device that integrates the minorities with the majority race.
When Vijaya, the first King of the 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.
SYMBOLISM OF THE NATIONAL FLAG
THE BO LEAVES
Buddhism and its influence on the nation.
They also stand for the four virtues of Kindness (Mettha), Compassion (Karuna), Equanimity (Upeksha) and (Muditha) Happiness.
YELLOW BORDER People from other cultures living in Sri Lanka
ORANGE STRIPE The Tamil community
GREEN STRIPE The Muslim community
SWORD The soverignty of the nation
rTHE LION The Sinhalese ethnicity and the strength of the nation
1948 -1951 KING SRI WICKRAMA RAJASINGHE FLAG
This is the flag that was raised by D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of Ceylon on Independence Day 1948. It did not have the two saffron and green stripes as well as the four bo leaves. This was based on the original lion flag of King Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe
1951 -1972: MODIFIED FLAG OF KING SRI
The necessity of a National Flag was discussed even before Sri Lanka gained independence on February 4,1948. Mr. A. Sinnalebbe, MP for Batticaloa tabled a motion in the State Council on January 16,1948 suggesting that the Lion Flag of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe which was taken to Britain in 1815 should be made the National Flag.
This was debated and later Prime Minister Rt. Hon. D.S. Senanayake named an Advisory Committee for the formulation of a National Flag.
The Members of the National Flag Committee Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike (Chairman),
Sir John Kotalawela,_
Dr. L.A. Rajapakse, Mr.G.G.Ponnambalam
Senator S. Nadesan,_
Dr.Senarath Paranavithana (Secretary).
The National Flag recommended by the special committee was presented to Parliament by Mr. D.S. Senanayake on March 2,1951 and adopted. It had two strips, one green and the other yellow. Each of these strips had to be equal to one seventh the size of the flag.
1972 TO PRESENT
When Sri Lanka was first made a Republic in 1972 the stylized Bo Leaves depicted in the National Flag were changed to resemble natural Bo leaves. The amended flag was first unfurled at the Republic Day celebrations held on May 22,1972.
The National Flag is incorporated in Section 6 Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka of September 09,1978.
DISPLAY OUT OF DOORS *
Whenever the National Flag is flown, it should occupy the position of honour and be distinctly placed.
The National Flag should always be hoisted slowly and ceremoniously and the same as for lowering.
The National Flag should be flown with the two vertical stripes next to the flag-pole.
The flag may be flown on buildings at night but only on very special occasions. On all such occasions, the, flag should always be floodlit while it remains hoisted. Religious flags should be displayed at the same level.
When a number of flags of localities or pennants of societies, school and dub flags, etc., are grouped and displayed from staffs with the National Flag, the National Flag should be at the centre and at the highest point in the group.
When the flags of provinces, pennants of schools, etc., are flown on the same halyard with the National Flag, the latter should be at the peak.
When other flags are flown, the National Flag should be hoisted first and lowered last
When the National Flag is displayed from a window sill, balcony or in front
building, it should be placed at the peak of the staff unless it is at half-mast.The
staff should be at an angle 45 degrees and not horizontal.
When the National Flag is displayed across a street it should be flown horizontally along its length with the lion upright.
When the National Flag is displayed on a speaker's platform, it shall be flown on the speaker's right as he faces the audience or flat against the wall above and behind the speaker.
A damaged, disfigured or faded National Flag should not be displayed.
The National Flag shall not be dipped in salute to any person or thing.
No other flag or bunting shall be placed higher than or above or, except as hereinafter provided, side by side with the National Flag nor shall any object including flowers or garlands or emblem be placed on or above the flag-mast from which the National Flag is flown.
The National Flag shall not be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting or in any other manner for decoration; nor shall other coloured pieces of cloth be so arranged as to give the appearance of the National Flag.
The National Flag shall not be used to cover a speaker's desk nor shall it be
draped over a speaker's platform.
The National Flag shall not be displayed with the Lion upside down.
The National Flag shall not be allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water.
The National Flag shall not be displayed orfastened in a manner that may damage it.
The National Flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff.
The National Flag should be attached to the halyard before hoisting-and the
flag should be folded and either placed on a high object (never on the ground)
or held by hand.
The chief guest at the function should hoist the National Flag smartly. During the ceremony all should stand to attention, refrain from smoking, drinking, eating, conversing, laughing or acting in a way that distracts from the solemnity of the occasion. Service personnel in uniform will salute as prescribed in respective service
Immediately after the National Flag is hoisted the National Anthem should be played or sung by a choir and preferably by all those present. Non- nationals are not expected to join in the singing but they stand as a mark of respect.
During rendition of the National Anthem when the National Flag is displayed all persons present except those in uniform should stand to attention facing the National Flag. Persons in uniform should render the appropriate salute. Men not in uniform wearing head-dress and not saluting should remove their headdress.