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National Symbols

Costa Ricans strongly value and honor their National Symbols such as their Flag, National Shield, Flower, Bird, and Hymn. Their National motto is "Pura Vida" and the oxcart strongly symbolizes Costa Rican Culture and Traditions.

  • The Flag:  designed by The First Lady, Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno in 1848, the flag was designed after the ideals of the French Revolution using the colors of the French national flag representing freedom, equality, and brotherhood. Each color represents important aspects of Costa Rica. Blue means the sky, opportunities at reach, intellectual thinking, perseverance to accomplish a goal, infinity, eternity, and ideals of religious and spiritual desires.  White means clear thinking, happiness, wisdom, power and beauty of the sky, the driving force of initiatives to search for new endeavors, and the peace of Costa Rica.  Red means the warmth of Costa Rican people, their love to live, their blood shed for freedom, and their generous attitude.
  • National Shield: created in 1848 illustrates seven stars above the volcanoes. The seven stars represent the seven provinces. There is a blue ribbon at the top that has printed on it America Central. Below the blue ribbon is a white ribbon that has Republica de Costa Rica printed on it. There are two branches of myrtle closing the coat of arms which represent peace. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are depicted in the shield. A rising sun in the background shows prosperity. The merchant ship is meant to represent the exchange that Costa Rica does with the rest of the world.
  • National Bird: El yiguirro was designated as national bird in November of 1976. This bird is located throughout the country. and it represents earth's fertility and is the symbol of rain. The yiguirro sings to call the rain. and it generally sings at the beginning of the rainy season which starts in April.
  • National Tree: “Arbol de Guanacaste” is the symbol of growth and equilibrium. It was designated as Costa Rica's national tree on August, 1959. It is found in Central America's coastal regions, Cuba and in the Antilles.
  • National Flower: La Guaria Morada is an orchid that was chosen as Costa Rica's national flower on June 15, 1939. Costa Rican prize the flower and associate it with the beauty of Costa Rican ladies. According to traditions, the "Guaria Morada" brings fortune and good luck. Supposedly, it brings union and family, understanding, and evokes peace and love as well as hope for the future. The flower actually does not emit a fragrance. This type of orchid grows on trees, roofs, and buildings. It gets nutrients from the air, rain, dust, and residues stored on the trunk of trees.
  • National Hymn: The National anthem is one of the important national symbols of Costa Rica as it expresses a sense of patriotism amongst the people. The music of the National anthem was composed by Manuel Maria Gutierrez in 1852 and the lyrics were by Jose Maria Zeledon Brenes. The original version of the National anthem of Costa Rica is in Spanish, the official language of the country and was first played  at the Presidential Palace on June 11, 1852 at noon. The music evokes an act of union, solidarity, and peaceful agreements among nations. It conveys a patriotic feeling through which the country shows its identity and peaceful nature.

Noble patria tu hermosa bandera
Noble homeland, your beautiful flag
Expresión de tu vida nos da:
Expression of your life it gives us:
Bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo
Under the limpid blue of your skies,
Blanca y pura descansa la paz.
Peace reigns, white and pure.
En la lucha tenaz de fecunda labor
In the tenacious battle of fruitful toil,
Que enrojece del hombre la faz,
That brings a glow to men's faces,
Conquistaron tus hijos, labriegos sencillos,
Your sons, simple farm hands,
Eterno prestigio, estima y honor,
Gained eternal renown, esteem and honour,
eterno prestigio, estima y honor.
Gained eternal renown, esteem and honour.
¡Salve oh tierra gentil!
Hail, gentle country!
¡Salve oh madre de amor!
Hail, loving mother!
Cuando alguno pretenda tu gloria manchar,
If anyone should attempt to besmirch your glory,
Verás a tu pueblo, valiente y viril
You will see your people, valiant and virile,
La tosca herramienta en arma trocar.
Exchange their rustic tools for weapons.
¡Salve patria! tu pródigo suelo
Hail, O homeland! Your prodigal soil
Dulce abrigo y sustento nos da;
Gives us sweet sustenance and shelter.
Bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo
Under the limpid blue of your sky,
¡Vivan siempre el trabajo y la paz!
May peaceful labour ever continue!

  • National Motto “Pura Vida” the country’s does not actually have an official national motto. However, if you want a phrase that describes ticos "pura vida" will be the most exact one. Meaning “pure life” it is used by most ticos to show or demonstrate approval or happiness toward certain situations, and they also use it as a greeting and way to say good bye. When it is said, it usually evokes positive emotions which reminds one the beauty of the country. The Institute of Tourism’s motto for the country is Costa Rica, no artificial ingredients.
  • Oxcarts: the oxcart was designated National Labor Symbol on March 22, 1988, is a rustic strong vehicle with two compact wheels moved by two oxen. Oxcarts are driven by people known as “Boyeros” in Costa Rica. The carts have been used for years as a major means of transportation of goods, especially coffee. Even though the oxcarts lost popularity around World War II due to new innovations in transportation, many farmers continued to use them. Additionally, the oxcart has become such a symbol and artistic piece that many Costa Ricans have one even if it is just the size of a paper weight. The carts are often decorated and hand painted with bright lively colors in geometric patterns, a trend that started in the early 20th century. The oxcarts represent how hard working Costa Ricans are and also humility, patience, endurance, and progress.
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