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In 1852, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom accredited, for the first time, their diplomatic representatives in Costa Rica. The Honorable President Juan Rafael Mora wanted to host a welcome ceremony for the two missions. Since Costa Rica did not have a National Anthem at that time, President Juan Rafael Mora requested Mr. Manuel María Gutierrez, Director of the Costa Rican National Army Orchestra, to compose the music of the National Anthem to be performed at the welcome ceremony.
The music of the National Anthem was first played at the Presidential Palace on June 11, 1852 at 12 p.m. The music does not have a military connotation since it was composed to welcome two diplomatic missions. Instead, 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.
The Words & Their Meaning
In 1903 there was a public contest for all Costa Rican citizens who wanted to write the National Anthem. Mr. Jose Maria Zeledon won that contest. The National Anthem was sung and played for the first time on September 15, 1903. In 1949, those words and music became the official National Anthem. The words address the farm workers of the early 20th century who laid the foundation of Costa Rica's democracy and development. They lived in the countryside, cultivated crops, raised horses and cattle. The greatness of these people was not based on their possessions, but on the way they handled daily matters and conducted themselves. The blue sky and the fields were enough to find meaning in their lives. The hopes and dreams of Costa Rican people of that time depended on not only the future, strengthened by the efforts and success of the present, but also on the preservation of the traditions passed through generations. The anthem is sung in Spanish only. Translation is provided to facilitate understanding of its meaning.
Costa Rica National Anthem
English verses by: Mary Elizabeth and Diccon Shaw
Noble country, our lives
Are revealed in your flying flag;
For in peace, white and pure, we live tranquil
Beneath the clear limpid blue of your sky.
And their faces are ruddy with hard work
In the fields beneath the life giving sun.
Though your sons are but farm workers, their labors eternal
Esteem, renown, and honor have won.
Hail, oh land of our birth!
Hail, oh gracious land we love!
If an enemy seeking to slander you or
Harms your name, then we will abandon our farms
And arise with fervor to take up our arms.
Oh, dear country, our refuge and shelter;
How fertile your life-giving soil!
May your people contented and peaceful
Unmolested continue their hard work.
Anthem in Spanish
¡Noble Patria!, tu hermosa bandera,
expresion de tu vida nos da:
bajo el limpido azul de tu cielo,
blanca y pura descansa la paz.
En la lucha tenaz de fecunda labor
que enrojece del hombre la faz,
conquistaron tus hijos -labriegos sencillos-
eterno prestigio, estima y honor. (bis)
¡Salve, oh tierra gentil!
¡Salve, oh Madre de amor!
Cuando alguno pretenda tu gloria manchar,
veras a tu pueblo valiente y viril,
la tosca herramienta en arma trocar.
¡Salve, oh Patria! tu prodigo suelo
dulce abrigo y sustento nos da.
Bajo el limpido azul de tu cielo
¡Vivan siempre el trabajo y la paz!
(*) Music must be performed on Mi Bemol, at the metronome speed of 108 crotchets.