Each country is unique. What gives its distinctive character to a certain territory is its culture. Costa Rica culture is represented by 14 patriotic symbols that has a special meaning to all Ticos.
Costa Rica culture, a legacy for future generations
Patriotic symbols are a way of communicating to the world and future generations important features of our society today, but also who we are and where we come from.
Some of these patriotic symbols have remained identical over the years. But also, as the Costa Rican culture has evolved, other symbols that we hope continue to be part of the life of the Costa Ricans have been added.
Preserving our identity and Costa Rica culture is the purpose of our national symbols, which include historical features, as well as elements of our rich biodiversity, through artistic expressions.
In 1848 the Republic was founded and the first symbols that were established were the flag and its national emblem.
The flag of France was the inspiration for the creation of this symbol of the culture of Costa Rica. The colors of the flag reflect details of our history:
Blue: represents the sky that covers Costa Rica and the ideals of forging a democratic nation.
White: represents purity, kindness and peace.
Red: represents the blood shed by Costa Ricans in the struggle for freedom, work and daily work, as written in the National Anthem and the Greeting to the Flag.
Created together with the flag, each of its elements presents physical characteristics of our country. In the center of the shield, there are 3 volcanoes that represent the mountain ranges that cross all of Costa Rica, the 7 stars are the provinces. The seas reveal the two oceans that bathe our coasts. And on the horizon, there is a rising sun of old gold. All these representations of the Culture of Costa Rica are framed by a golden frame representing coffee, our golden grain.
This patriotic symbol was created during the government of Juan Rafael Mora Porras, to welcome foreign diplomats from the United States and the United Kingdom. Manuel María Gutiérrez Flores composed a melody in 1852, while the lyrics were written by José María Zeledón in 1903.
This colorful reddish purple flower is epiphytic of certain trees originating in areas of 800 to 1400 meters above sea level. It was common to see her decorating the walls of the inner courtyards of old houses in traditional cities such as Cartago, Escazú and Heredia.
To flourish during the months of February and March, it was the favorite flower during the Lent and Holy Week, forming an essential part of the culture of Costa Rica.
Its designation as a national symbol was given after a request made by Argentina to our country. This South American country organized in 1936 a Garden for Peace, in which all the countries of the world would be represented by its flower.
Over the years, during the government of Mario Echandi Jiménez, in 1959 he declared the Guanacaste tree as a national symbol. This tribute to the people of Guanacaste celebrates the historical fact of the annexation of the Nicoya Party to the country in 1824.
Its seeds are used for handicrafts, blooming between November and March and producing fruit between January and May.
This symbol of the fauna of Costa Rica was established during the government of Daniel Oduber Quirós in the year of 1977. Although its plumage could be unattractive, its designation is given to be a bird well known for its powerful singing that announced to the peasants of yesteryear the arrival of the rainy season to the country.
Being part of the daily life of our gardens, Turdus Grayi, has also been part of Costa Rican literature, folk tales and typical songs.
THE OX CART
During the presidency of Óscar Arias Sánchez in 1988, this symbol of the culture of Costa Rica was born. It represents the culture of peace and work of the Costa Rican, humility, patience, sacrifice. It is a national symbol alluding to work in Costa Rica.
In times past, these carts were used to transport the coffee at harvest time to the ports where the gold grain was exported. The carts are spectacular works of art, since they are hand painted with colorful geometric figures, presenting unique and unrepeatable designs. It was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco on November 24, 2005.
Our fauna is undoubtedly one of the most important treasures in the country. Costa Rica has been a pioneer in conservation issues worldwide, which is why it was natural to create a national symbol that reinforces the country’s commitment to the environment.
Whitetail Deer was declared a national symbol in 1995. This beautiful and timid animal inhabits mainly the province of Guanacaste. Poaching has been their main enemy. Although at some point they were almost extinct, at present it can be observed more commonly, especially in protected areas such as the Guanacaste Conservation Area.
This national instrument that has enlivened the celebrations since pre-Columbian times, was declared a national symbol in 1996 to commemorate the 172nd anniversary of the annexation of the Nicoya Party.
Representing the culture of Costa Rica, the marimba highlights the great contribution that Guanacaste folklore has meant for the country.
His sweet and unpredictable music represents not only the history of our people, but it is an emblem of a happy, peaceful and democratic people.
THE TORCH OF INDEPENDENCE
It represents the freedom and independence that unites Costa Rica with its sister countries of Central America.
In the month of September, all Central American countries celebrate their independence. To commemorate this important historical event, the torch of independence runs from Guatemala to our country.
The arrival of the torch and its route is highly anticipated in many towns of Costa Rica. This event has become an important celebration of the culture of Costa Rica, helping to reinforce the patriotic fervor, especially in our youth.
The Crestones are located in the Talamanca mountain range and were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. They represent the natural wealth and conservation efforts that have been achieved as a country.
Declared as a national symbol of Costa Rica since 2011, the crestones are a symbol of the importance of tourism activity for the country, bringing economic and social development to many rural areas of the country.
The vast fauna of the country not only covers their lands but also their waters. The conservation of marine biodiversity is as important as the rest of its land area.
Two students from the province of Limón made the proposal, which was corroborated by the Legislative Assembly.
The great importance of this national symbol was to expand the dialogue about conservation, since having protected areas is not the only solution. The Manatee has been threatened by other elements created by the human being such as agrochemicals.
THE SPHERES OF STONE, SYMBOL OF THE PRE-COLOMBIAN CULTURE
On July 16, 2014, the stone spheres of Diquis have declared a World Heritage Site and a national symbol. These stones are considered unique in the world for their abundance, size, geometric perfection and organized formations. They are a milestone of the pre-Hispanic past of Costa Rica in general, of pre-Columbian sculpture in particular and of the culture of Costa Rica
THE NATIONAL THEATER
Located in the heart of the city of San José, the National Theater was built in the 21st century. Of Renaissance structure of neoclassical style and adorned with marbles brought from Italy, the National Theater is considered one of the most historical buildings of the culture of Costa Rica.
The National Theater not only protects works of great value such as the first sculptures in marble carved by a Costa Rican, but also represent the values of education, culture and peace, which have been the engines of our country for centuries.
The culture of Costa Rica has many faces and representations, the 14 national symbols are a brushstroke of what you might experience during your next visit. Stay with us and our concierge will help you plan your perfect trip.