Is the Greek Flag More Prominently Displayed than Other Country Flags in the US?

5 Apr

Since we’ve been chatting about how the revolutionary flag was raised at Agia Lavra, I thought it would only be appropriate for us to talk next about the Greek flag itself.

When I was a kid, there used to be a house in Paramus that had a giant Greek flag painted on its garage.  Greeks love to show off their flag.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen another country flag so readily displayed in America.  I’ve seen the United States flag, the Confederate flag, and the flag of California (mainly on t-shirts), but I’ve rarely seen a non-US flag in America as often as I’ve seen the Greek flag.  We like our flag.

But how many of us actually know the meaning behind the Greek flag?

Galanolefki, “blue-white,” is the name of Greece’s flag.  Although no documents exist that explicitly state the reason for the chosen colors, most people agree that the blue is for the color of the Mediterranean Sea and the white is the waves.  Some have also suggested the blue and white are for the Greek sky.

In the upper left of the Greek flag is a white Greek cross on a blue background.  The Greek cross, also known as crux immissa quadrata, is perfectly parallel: all four arms are equal length.  Kind of like the symbol of the Red Cross.  The cross is, of course, representative of Greece’s Greek Orthodox faith.

In addition to the cross, the Greek flag hosts nine alternating blue and white horizontal stripes.  The top and the bottom stripes are both blue.

Remember how the Greeks shouted “Ελευθερία ή θάνατος” at the start of the revolution?  Well, popular theory has it that the nine stripes of the flag correspond to the nine symbols of the phrase: ” E-lef-the-ri-a i Tha-na-tos.”

Another theory is that the nine stripes stand for the nine letters in “Έλευθερία,” the Greek word for “freedom.”

It’s really quite beautiful when you understand the significance of each part of the Greek flag.

*  *  *

Ever wonder what it would be like to design your own flag??

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4 Responses to “Is the Greek Flag More Prominently Displayed than Other Country Flags in the US?”

  1. James Stratis April 5, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    There are a lot of Mexican flags in Denver attesting to the huge immigrant population from south of the border. It used to make me feel that it was a sign of disrespect for the USA but I think of my own immigrant grandparents and the pride that they always had about where they came from and how they lived amongst the other Greek immigrant families in Roxborough a part of Boston,. The current wave of immigrants are struggling to assimilate and yet they are prideful of their roots…same as it ever was.

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