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Independence Day of Sri Lanka • February 4

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka became an independent and sovereign nation on February 4, 1948. It changed its name to Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka in 1968 and finally to its current name Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in 1972. February 4 each year is celebrated as a national holiday in Sri Lanka.

The national flag of Sri Lanka represents the heritage of the country. The lion and its golden color represent the strength and bravery of Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese ethnicity. The four bo leaves at the four corners of the flag represents Buddhism and its four virtues — Kindness, Friendliness, Happiness, and Equanimity. The sword in the lion’s front paw represents the sovereignty of the nation while sword handle represents the elements air, water, fire, and earth. The vertical orange stripe represents Sri Lankans of Tamil ethnicity and the green vertical stripe represents Muslim faith and Moor ethnicity. The maroon background of the flag represents the majority the Sinhalese. This is the color used in early flags of Sri Lanka. The yellow border represents people from all cultures living together in harmony.

"Sri Lanka Matha" – "Mother, Sri Lanka" was adopted as the country's national anthem in 1951. The national anthem was both written and composed by Ananda Samarakoon in 1940 when Sri Lanka was still a colony of Great Britain. Initially written as a tribute to Sri Lanka, the song gained massive popularity during the 1940s and finally became the national anthem on November 22, 1951. It was sung as the national anthem for the first time on February 4, 1952. “Sri Lanka Matha” represents sentiments of freedom, unity, and independence. The Sri Lankan national anthem is sung in two languages — Sinhalese and Tamil.

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