Flag, Emblem and Anthem – Greek City Times


On the occasion of Greece’s National Day, which celebrates the anniversary of its War of Independence against the Ottoman Turks, the Greek City Times presents some interesting facts about the Greek nation’s three national symbols: its flag, emblem, and anthem.

THE NATIONAL FLAG OF GREECE

The national flag of Greece consists of nine horizontal stripes of equal width, five blue and four white, alternately, the first and last stripes being blue. The upper left corner contains a blue square along the five stripes, with a white cross inside it. The flag is hung on a white flagstaff, and at the top of it is a white cross.

The National Symbols of Greece

On the occasion of Greece’s National Day, which celebrates the anniversary of its War of Independence against the Ottoman Turks, the Greek City Times presents some interesting facts about the Greek nation’s three national symbols: its flag, emblem, and anthem.

THE NATIONAL FLAG OF GREECE

The national flag of Greece consists of nine horizontal stripes of equal width, five blue and four white, alternately, the first and last stripes being blue. The upper left corner contains a blue square along the five stripes, with a white cross inside it. The flag is hung on a white flagstaff, and at the top of it is a white cross.

HISTORY

The land flag used to be square in shape and used to have a white cross on a blue background. The marine flags resembled the current national flag. The only difference in the flag of the merchant marine was the reversal of colours in the corner where the cross was (a blue cross on a white background). The flag of the merchant ships was ranked with that of the navy in 1828 when it was recognised that merchant ships had taken part in the War of Independence as warships.

The national flag has been modified several times since then, mainly as a result of regime changes, without being radically altered. In 1833, the Bavarian coat of arms was added to the flags of the army and the navy and remained until the overthrow of King Otto in October 1862. With the arrival of King George I in 1863, the crown was introduced into the flags of the above forces and remained there until the regime change in 1924.

From 1864 onwards, the infantry regiments’ flag was made of silk with a gold fringe all around. The white cross in the centre of the flag featured a picture of their patron saint, Saint George.

THE FLAG TODAY

The war flags currently are for the navy, the national flag and, for the army and the air force, a rectangular flag consisting of a white cross on a blue background, the cross dividing the flag into four equal parts. In the centre of the cross, the flag of the army bears a picture of Saint George, while the flag of the Air Force bears a picture of the Archangel Michael.

The National Symbols of Greece

THE EMBLEM OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC

The national emblem of Greece consists of a blue escutcheon with a white cross totally surrounded by two laurel branches.

The emblem is painted or woven, mainly on the hats, uniforms, and buttons of the military, security forces, etc.

The Constitution of Epidaurus provided the Greek national emblem on January 1, 1822, and was established by decree on 15 March of the same year. It was blue and white and circular in shape.

HISTORY

Since its establishment, the emblem has undergone many changes in shape and design, mainly due to regime changes.

The original Greek national emblem depicted the goddess Athena and the owl. At the time of Kapodistrias, the first Prime Minister of modern Greece, the phoenix, the symbol of rebirth, was added. During the reign of King Otto, the royal crest, with two crowned lions holding the coat of arms with the royal crown, became the country’s national emblem. With the arrival of King George I, the Bavarian emblem was replaced by the Danish one. After Greece became a republic in 1924, the national emblem consisted of a simple white cross with a blue background. The Danish emblem returned with the restoration of Monarchy in 1967.

The National Symbols of Greece

NATIONAL ANTHEM

The National Anthem of Greece consists of the first two verses of the poem “Hymn to Freedom”, written in May 1823 in Zakynthos by the poet Dionysios Solomos. A year later, it was published in Mesolonghi, and the same year, Fauriel included it in a collection of Greek folk songs. In 1828, Nicholas Mantzaros, a Corfiot musician and friend of Solomos’ set the poem to music based on a folk theme, intended for a four-voice male choir rather than preserving its character of march. After that, the “Hymn to Freedom” was regularly heard during national holidays.

HISTORY
In 1844, Mantzaros once again set the poem to music and submitted it to King Otto in the hope that he would accept it as the national anthem. In spite of N. Mantzaros being awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of the Redeemer and D. Solomos being awarded the Gold Cross of the same Order, the work was not ratified as the national anthem but became popular as a battle song.

In 1861, the Minister for the Military asked Mantzaros to compose a march based on the “Hymn to Freedom”. The musician altered the rhythm of Solomos’ hymn, giving it the rhythm of a march, and in 1864, after the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece, the “Hymn to Freedom” was established as the national anthem. The national anthem, along with its music, was printed for the first time (27 copies) in London in 1873.

The National Symbols of Greece

The poem “Hymn to Freedom” consists of 158 four-line verses, of which the first 24 were established as the National Anthem in 1865. The first two are usually played and accompany the raising and lowering of the flag. During the national anthem, one stands to attention.

*Source: presidency.gr



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