National Symbols of Sri Lanka

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

National Flag.
The National Flag of Sri Lanka has been designed with great care and purpose. It not only represents the country and her heritage, but is a rallying device that integrates the minority races with the majority race.
The present day National Flag is an improvisation of the civil standard of the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Wickrama Rajasingha. The civil standard had a passant royal lion with a sword in it's right fore paw at the center, and a bo-leaf on each of the four corners on a plain border.
The lion flag lost it's significance after the British conquered Sri Lanka in 1815. It was the Union Jack which was hoisted in its place.
When Sri Lanka gained her independence from Great Britain on February 04, 1948, it was the lion flag (the same as the standard of the last king of Sri Lanka) which was hoisted once again.
The first Prime Minister of independent Sri Lanka, D.S.Senanayake, appointed a committee to advice the government on the design of a new national flag. The design approved by the committee in February 1950 retained the symbol of the lion with the sword and the bo-leaves from the civil standard of the last king of Sri Lanka, with the inclusion of two verticle stripes green and orange in color. the significance of each symbol of the national flag is as follows:
The lion in the flag represents the Sinhala race. The sword of the lion represents the sovereignty of the country. The noble eight fold path of Buddhism is signified by the lion's tail. Curly hair on the lion's head indicates religious observance, wisdom and meditation. The beard denotes purity of words. The handle of the sword highlights the elements of water, fire, air and earth. The nose indicates intelligence. The two front paws purport to purity in handling wealth. The verticle stripe of orange represent the minority Tamil race and the green verticle stripe the minority Muslim race. The four virtues of kindness: KINDNESS, FRIENDLINESS, HAPPINESS, EQUANIMITY are also represented in the flag. The border round the flag, which is yellow in color, represents other minor races. The bo-leaves at the four corners of the flag represent Buddhism and it's influence on the nation. They also stand for the four virtues - Kindness, Friendliness, Happiness and Equanimity.The maroon colored portion of the flag manifests the other minor religions. The national flag was hoisted for the first time on March 3, 1950.

National Emblem
Sri Lanka used the British emblem when it was a British Crown Colony. We continued to use it even after gaining independence in 1948. According to the recommendations of a select committee appointed to devise a state emblem more suitable for Sri Lanka (Ceylon) we opted for a new State Emblem. It had a Lion with Sword in its right fore paw encircled with a Palapethi open petal design top. Below there was a strip carrying the country's name in Sinhala, Tamil and English.A new republican emblem was chosen after the country was declared a Republic on May 22, 1972. In addition to the lion with a sword and the Palapethi open petal design it portrays the Punkalasa, dhammachakka, sun, moon and two sheaves of paddy.
The new state emblem includes a lion with a sword in its right front paw surrounded by a Palapethi open petal design top. Beneath this, there is a strip carrying the country's name in Sinhala, Tamil and English.
On being declared a Republic on 22 May, 1972, Sri Lanka further adopted a new Republican Emblem which had an additional portrayal of Punkalasa, dhammachakka, sun, moon and two sheaves of paddy besides the lion with a sword.

National Tree
NA (iron wood) or (Mesua Ferrea)
On 26 February, 1986, the Cabinet had adopted the Na Tree as the national tree of Sri Lanka because of the country's close association with the tree for centuries both socially and culturally. The Na tree has its origins in Sri Lanka itself.
This rain forest tree grows to about 30 m high and indigenous to the lower wet Zone of Sri Lanka. Remarkable Features of NA is beautiful bright Red Leaves and finally matured in to a deep green. Timber has a very hardness and durability and used to make bridges in the early times. But now not allowed for timber due to it?s religious value. It's believed that the first visit of Buddha was to grove of a NA Tree at Miyanganaya and also the next Buddha (mithriya) will attain enlightenment under a NA tree. The flower of NA is also used in herbal medicine and preparation of perfumes, cosmetics and soaps. This was named as the National Tree in 1986.

National Flower
Nil Manel or blue water lilyor Nymphaea stellata
In February 1986 blue water lily was chosen as the National flower. Found all the part of Sri Lanka and grows in the shallow water. Petals arranged like a star and the flat round waterproof leaves are bright green. It`s a symbol of purity and truth. It has a sweet fragrance and used for offering at Buddhist Temples and rituals for god Vishnu.Sigiriya frescoes of women holds these flowers in their hands. Seeds and the tubes used as a vegetable by villagers and also leaves, stem and flowers used in herbal medicine and dried flowers used to make pillows.

National Bird.
Wali kukula or Ceylon Jungle fowl or Gallus LafayettiJungle fawl the National Bird of Sri Lanka is commonest in the National Parks and forests.A typical fowl strutting about and scratching the ground for food.