October 27 – Flag Day in Greece

Posted October 27, 2017

The flag of Greece is one of the most stand-out flags in the world, I think. That's partly because Greece kept the color story simple - just blue and white - and partly because there is a lot going on pattern-wise - the horizontal stripes plus the simple cross in the corner.

Let's face it, just avoiding the common three-stripes / three-color (tricolor) flags makes a flag a bit of a stand out!

Usually there is a story behind the colors and patterns on a flag, and in the case of the Greek flag, the story goes something like this:
White and blue stand for the white clouds in the blue sky plus the white foam flecking the blue sea.

I always think of Greek buildings as being
white and blue, as well - although there
are other colors used in some places,
of course!
The nine stripes are said to stand for the syllables of the words "Freedom or death." I know that phrase is just four syllables long - but of course we mean the Greek translation of the phrase! And I assure you that it is nine syllables!

Έλευθερία ή Θάνατος

I'd say that you can count for yourself, but you probably don't know the Greek alphabet, nor the Greek language, so you probably want to take my word for it.

Another possible explanation for the nine stripes is that, in Ancient Greek mythology, there are nine Muses of literature, science, and arts:

Calliope - goddess of epic poetry
Clio - goddess of history
Euterpe - goddess of music, song, and lyric poetry
Erato - goddess of love poetry
Melpomene - goddess of tragedy
Polyhymnia - goddess of hymns
Terpsichore - goddess of dance
Thalia - goddess of comedy
Urania - goddess of science

The cross in the corner of the flag stands for the Eastern Orthodox Christian church.

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