Referred to as the Γαλανόλευκη (galanolefki) or Κυανόλευκη (kyanolefki), the iconic blue and white flag of Greece dates back to 1822 featuring a white cross and nine horizontal stripes.
While the cross represents the official religion of the Greek nation and Cyprus, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the belief as to what the nine stripes represents varies. Some say they are for the nine syllables of the phrase ‘Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος’ (‘Eleftheria I Thanatos’, which means Freedom or Death), or that they symbolise the nine letters of the Greek word ‘freedom’ (ελευθερία or eleftheria) and others state they are the nine Muses of Greek mythology.
While there is no appointed shade of blue, the consensus is that the colours symbolise the colours of the sky and sea and many flags feature a dark or royal blue. The official Greek Flag Day takes place on October 27th.
Read the full The Story Behind the Greek Flag article on the Culture Trip website.