The national flag of Greece, popularly referred to as the "sky-blue - white" or the "blue-white" (Greek: Γαλανόλευκη or Κυανόλευκη),
officially recognised by Greece as one of its national symbols, is based on nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white.
There is a blue canton in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross; the cross symbolises Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the
established religion of the Greek people of Greece and Cyprus. The blazon of the flag is Azure, four bars Argent; on a canton of the field
a Greek cross throughout of the second. The official flag ratio is 2:3. The shade of blue used in the flag has varied throughout its history,
from light blue to dark blue, the latter being increasingly used since the late 1960s. It was officially adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus on 13 January 1822.
According to popular tradition, the nine stripes represent the nine syllables of the phrase "Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος" ("Freedom or Death"), the five blue stripes for the syllables
"Ελευθερία" and the four white stripes "ή Θάνατος". The nine stripes are also said to represent the letters of the word "freedom" (Greek: ελευθερία). There is also a different
theory, that the nine stripes symbolise the nine Muses, the goddesses of art and civilisation (nine has traditionally been one of the numbers of reference for the Greeks). Blue
and white have been interpreted as symbolising the colours of the famed Greek sky and sea.
"I Galanolefki" (The Blue and White), "I Kyanolefki" (The Azure and White)
National flag and ensign
Proportion - 2:3
Adopted: 22 December 1978 (Naval Ensign 1822-1978, National Flag 1969-70; 1978 to date)
Design/Format: Nine horizontal stripes, in turn blue and white; a white cross on a blue square field in canton.
The use of the Greek flag is regulated by Law 851. More specifically, the law states that:
When displayed at the Presidential Palace, the Hellenic Parliament, the ministries, embassies and consulates of Greece, schools, military camps, and public and private ships as well
as the navy, the flag must:
Fly from 8am until sunset,
Be displayed on a white mast topped with a white cross on top of a white sphere,
Not be torn or damaged in any way. If the flag is damaged, it should be burned in a respectful manner.
The flag can be displayed by civilians on days specified by the ministry of internal affairs, as well as in sporting events and other occasions of the sort.
When displayed vertically, the canton must be on the left side of the flag from the point of view of the spectator.
The flag should never be:
Defaced by means of writing or superimposing any kind of image or symbol upon it,
Used to cover a statue. In that case, cloth in the national colours must be used,
Hung from windows or balconies without the use of a mast,
Used for commercial purposes,
Used as a logo for any corporation or organization, even at different proportions.
When placed on top of a coffin, the canton must always be on the right of the person's head.