Why Are Ticos So Proud About Their National Symbols?

    Preserving the legacy of our rich history

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    The National Flag of Costa Rica is tricolor by means of five stripes placed horizontally, one red in the center between two white, each of which follows a blue. The width of each belt is the sixth part of the flag, except the red one that is two sixths. The flag of Thailand is similar to the Costa Rican flag, with the blue and red stripes being reversed.

    The flag was created on November 27, 1906, along with the National Coat of Arms. The tradition establishes that the conception and design of the current flag, in force since that year, corresponded to Doña Pacífica Fernández Orea Muño, wife of the first president of Costa Rica; José María Castro Madriz, inspired by the flag of France. The Official Flag differs because centered on the red band; it has embroidered on a white background the National Shield.

    Costa Rica has changed its flags from 1786 to the present. The first was the Spanish flag decreed by Carlos III (1786-1821). In 1823, Costa Rica adopted a flag that was white with a red six-pointed star in the center. In 1824, when adhering to the United Provinces of Central America, Costa Rica adopted the third federal flag, which was inspired by the flag of Argentina and had three horizontal stripes, blue the lower and upper and white center.

    The first flag that waved in these lands was the flag of Spain until 1821 when the province of Costa Rica proclaimed its absolute independence from Spain. The second flag that the province of Costa Rica had was that of the Empire of Mexico; decreed then by Generalissimo Agustín de Iturbide. 1822-1823. the other proposal was put into effect in May 1823, when the Provisional Assembly of Costa Rica instituted it. The third flag was white with a red star in the center and remained until 1824.

    The other flag was known as the Pavilion of the United Provinces of Central America (1823-1824), approved in August 1823, during the Constituent Assembly of Central America, carried out in Guatemala. They formed three stripes, two blue and one white in the center. It was the flag that Costa Rica had during the years that it was part of the Federation; its validity was maintained in March 1824, when the country entered this organization until 1840.

    After the fall of Braulio Carrillo in 1842, Francisco Morazán reinstated it and it was valid until 1848. On leaving the country of the Central American Federation in 1838, the need arose for another flag, however, it was until 1840, Carrillo agreed that the Free State of Costa Rica would be represented by a white flag with a celestial band in the center; It remained until 1842.

    Pacífica Fernández Orea Muño was the first woman to occupy the position of «First Lady» in Costa Rica. The current flag was decreed by the administration of Dr. José María Castro Madriz, it has been said that the opinion of Pacifica Fernández, his wife, was decisive in choosing the colors and that it influenced, her admiration for French culture. It was decreed in September 1848.

    It is understood that the colors of the Costa Rican flag represent:


    The sky that covers Costa Rica as a protective mantle, goal of the human being when he seeks the highest ideals and thinks about eternity.


    The peace that is lived in Costa Rica and the purity of its ideals.


    The energy, courage, and detachment with which Costa Ricans defend their principles and ideals, as well as their democratic system of life. Also the warmth of the way of being of the Costa Rican, which extends to the other countries of the world.

    The national symbols are emblems that represent the hard-working spirit of the Costa Rican people, who love peace and democracy. These traditions allow knowing our roots, but the experience of them identifies us as members of a community or people.

    In the last century, no special importance was given to the way in which people lived their daily existence. For this reason, most of the history books tell us about politics, economics, coup d’état, but very few mentions what the traditions and customs were like. The national symbol is a figure that represents a cultural and natural concept of a nation, elements of identity that countries have conceived to differentiate themselves from other countries. In Costa Rica, the national symbols were born after the creation of the Republic; the first president, José María Castro Madriz, was concerned about giving the country some symbols that reflect the ideas and feelings of Costa Ricans.

    The National Symbols are those that represent states, nations, and countries, and are thus recognized by other states. Generally, these symbols are formulated from visual or verbal representations that aim to spread the values of the history or the famous characters of the country.

    As we know the most used are: the National Flag, Coat of Arms and National Anthem. It is usual for these three symbols to summarize the historical values of the nation through an image, sometimes accompanied by a phrase.

    The best-known national symbol is the national flag. Each country has its own flag, which it uses to indicate its dominion in a certain territory and to identify the people who represent it in an international contest, to mention two possibilities. Olympic athletes, for example, parade at the beginning of events with the flag of the country which they represent.

    Coat of Arms.

    Coat of arms of Costa Rica

    The Costa Rican Coat Of Arms was promulgated on September 29, 1848, along with the current national flag, during the administration of José María Castro Madriz, president of the Republic.

    Design. The coat of arms consists of a golden frame that represents the golden grain (coffee). Within the framework there are three smoking volcanoes, of blue-green color, that symbolize the volcanoes and the three mountain ranges that cross the country and an extensive clear green valley between two blue oceans (Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, that bathes the coasts of the west and the east of the country, respectively, as well as those of Central America). In each of these, there is a merchant ship representing the maritime history of the country. On the horizon, to the left of the shield, you can see a rising sun of old gold. It closes two palms of dark green myrtle joined by a ribbon with the legend “Republic of Costa Rica” in golden letters. The seven silver stars in bow represent the current provinces of the Republic. It has also a light blue ribbon that serves as a crown with the Central America legend.

    Originally there were national flags on each side of the Coat of Arms, a horn of plenty and five stars, but in 1906, by Law number 18 of November 27 of the same year, the first two elements were deleted and in 1964 two were added. More stars; the coat of arms appears in the red strip of the state, the maritime flag on a white background and in the civil flag it does not appear.

    History of the Coat of Arms.

    Throughout its history, Costa Rica has had a Coat of Arms. During the Spanish domination, the coat of arms of the reigning monarch was the one used as a symbol of its various kingdoms and manors. The shield of the monarch (known usually like the arms of the king), changed when a new monarch ascended to the throne, in accordance with the rules of the Heraldry. The Spanish monarchs who reigned over Costa Rica (Philip II, Philip III, Philip IV, Charles II, Philip V, Louis I, Ferdinand VI, Charles III, Charles IV, and Ferdinand VII), each had their own shield, different from the others. On the other hand, some cities or towns did have their own coat of arms. In Costa Rica, the only population that had its own coat of arms was the city of Cartago, which was granted by King Felipe II in 1565.

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