Facets of Lanka | Sunday Observer

Facets of Lanka

29 January, 2023

The National Flag

In 1948, the Sri Lankan Government decided on the National Flag, but it underwent changes in 1953 and 1972. In the same year Dr. Nissanka Wijeyeratne introduced four Bo leaves in each corner of the flag. At the time, he was the Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Chairman of the National Emblem and Flag Design Committee.

The 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.

The first Independence Day celebrated on February 4, 1948 is the first occasion when the nation saluted, honoured and venerated Sri Lanka’s National Flag. The first Prime Minister of Independent Sri Lanka, D.S. Senanayake hoisted the National Flag.

The flag of Sri Lanka is also called the Lion Flag as it consists of a gold lion passant, holding a sword in its right fore paw, on a crimson background. There is also a yellow border and to its left are two vertical stripes of equal size in saffron and green, with the saffron stripe closest to the lion.

The lion in the flag represents the Sinhala race. The sword of the lion represents the sovereignty of the country. The curly hair of the lion’s head indicates religious observance, wisdom and meditation. The handle of the sword highlights the elements of water, air, fire and earth. The vertical stripes of orange represents the Tamil community and the green vertical stripe indicate the Muslim community. The Bo-leaves at the four corners represent Meththa (loving), Karuna (kindness), Muditha (compassion) and Upeksha (equanimity).


The National Flower

The Blue Water Lilly is the National Flower of Sri Lanka and was declared as the National Flower in February, 1986. It is an aquatic flower called Nil Manel in Sinhala. The Nil Manel flower is botanically known as Nympheae Stellata. It is found in all parts of the island and grows mainly in shallow water. It blooms from 7.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The flower is considered a symbol of truth, purity and discipline. It has blooms all the year round and is used for religious purposes, herbal medicines and decorations.

– Adheesha Mayadunne,

Grade 8,

Sri Rahula Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Malabe


The Jungle Fowl

The Jungle Fowl is the national bird of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl is an omnivore. It is also known as the Ceylon Jungle Fowl and is a member of the Galliformes bird order which is endemic to Sri Lanka. It is closely related to the Red Jungle Fowl and the Wild Jungle Fowl from which the chicken was domesticated. The Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl and the Red Jungle Fowl diverged about 2.8 million years ago. There are four species of Gallus recorded from Asia so far. The Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl is not found anywhere else in the world.


The Iron Wood Tree (Na)

The Ceylon Iron Wood Tree was declared the National Tree of Sri Lanka on February 26, 1986. It was chosen as the National Tree due to it being endemic to Sri Lanka. The tree has been a national symbol for about 34 years, which has led to a close relationship between the Sri Lankan people and the Na tree. It is also regarded as a sacred plant. This has become a plant of great value to the people of Sri Lanka.

According to folk lore, there are several reasons for naming the Na tree, Na. It is believed that the name was given because it is a strong plant and is considered as strong as an elephant.