The flag of Greece consists of an equal-armed white cross on a blue background in the upper left (canton) corner of the flag. The remaining area of the flag is filled with nine alternating blue and white horizontal stripes. The top and bottom stripes of the flag are always blue.
The white cross on the flag represents Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the established religion of the Greek people of Greece and Cyprus. The nine horizontal stripes of alternating blue and white are said to symbolize the nine syllables in the Greek phrase that translates to mean “Freedom or Death”. These stripes are also believed to symbolize each letter in the Green word for “freedom”. However, some believe that the stripes represent the nine Greek muses. There does seem to be a consensus on the chosen colors of the flag though, which are supposed to symbolize the colors of the sky and sea, with its blue water and white wave crests.
There are a few theories as to the origin of the Greek flag. The distinct elements can all be traced back to past elements of Greek history. For instance, the official flag of the Kallergis Family of Crete looks almost exactly the same as Greece’s flag. Could it have been adapted because of this particular family? Since there aren’t any known records of exactly how the modern flag was adopted, it’s difficult to know why, exactly the flag looks the way it does today.
Although the origin of the Greek flag is still a matter of debate, the important fact to remember is that is was officially adopted by Greece on December 22, 1978. But in an effort to rally the nation under one central administration, the Greeks chose the version of the flag that we know today, which dates back to 1822, a year after the new state declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821.