It was created in 1848. The original seal went through
three important changes. In 1906, its war symbols were removed as a response to
Costa Rican's tradition for peace. Another change occurred in 1964, when two
more stars were added as to represent the newly incorporated provinces. Lately,
in 1998 the smoke at the mountains top were added.
Today, the national shield shows green mountains
representing three most important mountain rangers, putting in arch seven stars
(one for each province) and two merchant ships. There is a rising sun at the
horizon between the blue sky and the blue ocean. In the upper part of the seal there are blue ribbonwith silver letters "America Central", two branches of myrthe and white ribbon with the inscription "Republica de Costa
Rica". All is rounded by golden frame with the small circles on both sides
represent the coffee beans.
Costa Rica's flag was designed by Pacífica Fernández
Oreamuno and constituted in the year 1848. Its colours were inspired by flag of France. There are featured 5 horizontal
strips. Saying from the top they are: blue (sky), white (clear thinking), red
(warmth of Costa Rican people and their blood shed for freedom), white (wisdom)
and again blue (peace). The red strip is twice width as the rest. It`s put on it
also a shield of Costa Rica (surrounded by white circle). For the first time it was unveiled on November 12, 1848 in the Central Park in San Jose and now there has been put (since 2004) an ornate flagpole.
The music to the National Anthem was written by Manuel
María Gutiérrez in 1852. It was made under the influence of the sudden need,
because in Costa Rica were expected noble reprezentatives of USA and United
Kingdom, who were to come by steam-boat. As a part of welcoming ceremony was
expected to be played national anthens. But the problem was that Costa Rica
didn`t have an official song. That`s why one of ministers ordered Gutierrez to
compose the music for that. They say that for the time of composing Guttierez
was kidnapped from his house and put in quarters. The first words for anthem were tried to write by Guatemalan Tadeo N. in 1837. But the first version was created by Colombian poet Jose Manuel Lleras. But soon in 1879, the presbiterian ministry Juan Garcia wrote the second version. The third one was composed in 1888 by spanish teacher Juan Fernandez Ferraz. But all were too abstract and were considered as unproper for mellody. Finally current words were written in
1903 as a result of called competition. The lyrics presented by José María
Zeledón won first place. In Park of Spain in San Jose there is a tebleau devoted for the first singing of that there by a group of children in 1903. Oficially the song as a anthem was recognized only in
1949. In Park of Gen. Eloy Alfaro in Alajuela there is a bust of Manuel Maria Gutierrez.
|National handicraft - La carreta|
Las carretas are hands-painted wooden, 2-wheels ox-carts,
pulled by oxes. In 1988 were recognized as the symbol of Costa Rica`s
handicrafts. They are produced in private minifactories in Sarchi - a small
village situated to the north of Alajuela (province of Alajuela). Their wooden
circles are painted in small gardens into patterned compositions. Carretas
appeared in Costa Rica suddenly around 1840, when the meaning of coffee
plantations increased. At the beginning carretas were the only mean of
transportation in the country. In the first years they were pulled by people,
later (when increased transport of goods) they were drawn mainly by oxes. In
colonial times there were very famous caravanes of carretas full of coffee, that
traversed a muddy roads between the Central Valley and Puntarenas.
In 1903 people started to decorate also their circles, and
in 1915 for the separation of their attachment to distinct family, they were
painted entire. In 1960`s when they were taken over by motorished transport,
people started making them for touristic purposes. Today they are used as a
decorations in gardens. Very popular among foreigners are also their miniatures
as a souvenirs for desks. Nowadays in Costa Rica is hard to imagine any fiesta
or parade without carretas. The most known is ox-carts parade in Escazu, which
is held every year on the second sunday of March.
In Sarchi people pay attention on the carretas` wheels,
which used to be manufactured from the lagarto wood. That kind of wood made that
during the journeys there were heard the lovely, characteristic sounds of
wheels. Many inhabitants of Sarchi like telling the story, about the man who
many years ago was believed to pay a record number of 240 colones for carreta.
All because the wheels of that were making the perfect sound. They say that when
he came back to his Alajuela, people were ready to repay it from him even for
300 colones. It was making the most beautiful sound in town.
In November 2001, from the Monument of Leon Cortes (in Park of Centenarios in San Jose) started the parade of oxcart drivers, full of Saint figures.
The patron saint of Costa Rica is Black Virgen of Los
Angeles (known also as La Negrita). It was chosen on September 24th of 1924 to
protect the country. They say, in 1635, small stone figure of Black Virgin
appeared for Juana Pereira-a young mulatto wood gatherer. That was in the same
place where now stands a basilique of Los Angeles in Cartago. People believed at
that time that it was a sign for loving everyone regardless of the colour of the
skin. On every year, on August 2th, the basilique in Cartago is visited by half
a million of prayers. In 1950 the small statue of Black Virgin was stolen from Basilique but soon was replaced by new one. On May 2005 Pope Benedict XVI has blessed an image of Costa Rica patron which was then moved to the church of Santa Maria della Luce del Imigrante Latinoamericano in Rome.
Since 1939 the national tree of Costa Rica has been
umbrella-like Guanacaste tree (the latin name Enterolobium Cyclocarpum). Its
height varies from 25 m. to 50 m. high. The diameter of its trunk is usually 2
m. Its fruit generally carries between 10 and 22 seeds. Its flower is white and
rounded. Its wood is used in carpentry and ornamental crafts. The biggest
concentration of these trees can be found in the province of the same
name-Guanacaste. Besides in San Jose it`s stood in the square in front of La Soledad church, Central Park in San Jose and Park of Elzy Alfaro in Alajuela.
(Turdus grayi). Since 1976 the national bird of Costa Rica has been
inconspicuous Yguirro. It`s a little strange that with so wide variety of birds
species in Costa Rica, for national bird was chosen undistinquish Yguirro. It
has brown feathers, and red eyes. During mating time (April - May) their males stand out of
beautiful singing. According to some people that way they call for rain. Both
males and females hatch out their eggs and care for nestlings.
Yquirros lives among others on the slopes of Poas volcano
and in the gardens in Escazu.
Since 1939 the national flower of Costa Rica has been an
orchid "guaria morada". According to Costa Rican traditions, it brings fortune
and good luck. It grows on trees, roofs, and buildings. It gets nutrients from
the air, rain, dust, and residues stored on the trunk of trees. Its biggest
consentration is spot in so called terrains of Las Pailas and Las Hornillas in
Volcano Rincon de la Vieja National Park
The national day is celebrated annually on 15 September.
That`s the anniversary of gaining the independence (1821). The celebration
starts at 6 p.m. People are singing the national anthem regardless of where they
are at that moment. In many towns local communities organize parades with
candles and flash-lights (the latter ones are held by children). They symbolize
the events of 1821, when people after the news that Spain had given the
independence for Costa Rica, were going out of their houses in the night.
There is also a long tradition of maraton with torch
continueing from the border with Nicaragua. It has something to do with the fact
that the news about the independence for all Central American countries come to
Costa Rica by a messanger with a torch.
|The national dance|
The national dance is so called Punta Guanacasteco. It
dates back to the turn of the century when it was composed in jail by Leandro
Cabelceta Brau. It`s performed to the accompaniament of guitars and marimbas, in
national dresses during different celebrations, schools fiestas and in
Guanacaste province in the anniversary of its annexion from Nicaragua (25. VII).
It`s danced also during fiesta of Black Christ of Esquipulas in Santa Cruz (15.