Sri Lanka

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In traditional Sanskrit and Pali literature the island is called Sinhaladvipa, the word nbala deriving from the Sinhalese word inba (lion), and since the 15th century a golden lion holding a sword of authority has appeared on the crimson field of the tate banner. This flag with a yellow border a symbol of Buddhism, was adopted as the first flag of independent Ceylon on 4 February 1948. The lion denotes the desire for peace, while the crimson symbolizes national pride. In 1950 the stripes of green (for the Muslims) and saffron (for the Tamils) were added. In 1972 and 1978 the finials in the corners were modified to represent the leaves of the fig tree (Ficus religiosa) under which Siddartha Gautama sat when he received enlightenment and became the Buddha. The four leaves stand for love, compassion, sympathy and equanimity, which are virtues extolled by Buddhism.