National symbols of Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

National symbols of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka National Emblem

The National Emblem of Sri Lanka was adopted in 1972. It features a golden lion in the centre, surrounded by petals of gold representing the blue lotus flower.

The base of the emblem is a traditional grain vase sprouting sheaves of rice. Sinhalese heraldic symbols of the sun and moon flank either side of the vase, and the crest of the Dharmachakra at the top represents Buddhism.

Sri Lanka National Flag

The National Flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and her heritage as a rallying device that integrates the minority races with the majority race.

The 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.

When Sri Lanka gained her independence from Great Britain on February 4, 1948, it was the lion flag of the last king of Sri Lanka that was hoisted.

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 vertical stripes green and orange in colour.

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.

* 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 vertical stripe of orange represents the minority Tamil race and the green vertical stripe the minority Muslim race.

* The border round the flag, which is yellow in colour, 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 coloured portion of the flag manifests the other minor religions.

The national flag was hoisted for the first time on March 3, 1950.

Sri Lanka National Tree

The Ironwood (Na tree), botanically known as Mesua nagassarium was declared the National Tree on 26th February 1986.

It was chosen as the National Tree for several reasons:

* It is a tree which originated in Sri Lanka

* Its utility

* Historic and cultural importance

* Exterior posture

* Wide distribution

* Colour and nature

* Ability to draw and sketch it easily

This rain forest tree grows to about 30 m high and is indigenous to the lower wet Zone of Sri Lanka. Remarkable features of the Na is its beautiful bright red leaves that finally mature in to a deep green. The timber has a hardness and durability and was used to make bridges in early times. Now it is not allowed to use for timber due to its religious value. The Na flower is used in herbal medicine and the preparation of perfumes, cosmetics and soaps.

Sri Lanka National Bird

The Sri Lanka jungle fowl – a very colourful ground bird, endemic to Sri Lanka is the national bird of Sri Lanka. Found in Sri Lanka's jungle and dense scrub throughout it roosts high in trees at nights, flies up to tree branches when threatened, nests in hidden, scraped places on the ground or on a pile of vegetation just off the ground. Sinharaja is a very good site to watch the Sri Lanka jungle fowl.


Sri Lanka National Flower

The Nil Manel, botanically known as Nympheae stellata was declared the National Flower of Sri Lanka on 26th February 1986

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