The national anthem of Nicaragua was chosen after a contest held in 1918 by the incumbent government. The contestants were asked to write two quartets about work and peace, which had to be easily adaptable to the already established melody.
The melody was part of a liturgical song used by a frailer called Castinove as part of his teaching of Christian faith to indigenous people in Subtiaba, close to the city of León (nowadays, Subtiaba is part of the city)
The winner of the contest, who received all of the votes, was poet Salomón Ibarra Mayorga with his song known as “Salve a tí, Nicaragua” (Saveguard yourself, Nicaragua)
Hail to thee (English translation)
Hail to thee, Nicaragua! On thy land
roars the voice of the cannon no more,
nor does the blood of brothers now stain
thy glorious bicolor banner.
Let peace shine beautiful in thy sky,
and nothing dim thine immortal glory,
for work is thy well earned laurel
and honor is thy triumphal emblem!
Flag of Nicaragua
Three equal horizontal bands of blue, white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band.
The white stripe signifies pureness.
Two blue stripes represent the two bordering oceans.
Coat of Arms
The triangle signifies equality, the rainbow signifies peace and the five volcanoes express the union and brotherhood of all five Central American countries. The phrygian cap symbolizes freedom.
The National Flower
The national flower is know as the Sacuanjoche. The Sacuanjoche flower grows on a conical type of tree that flowers around May. Sacuanjoche flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, and simply dupe their pollinators. The local name, Sacuanjoche, is derived from the Náhuatl language.
The national bird is the Guardabarranco (motmot). It has a mostly green body with a rufous back and belly. There is a bright blue stripe above the eye and a blue-bordered black patch on the throat. The flight feathers and upperside of the tail are blue. The tips of the tail feathers are shaped like rackets and the bare feather shafts are longer than in other motmots. Motmots eat mostly insects, and they, oddly, dig a hole to lay their eggs.
Guardabarrancos can be seen in forests throughout Nicaragua, mostly in the southwest of the country. Their habitat is not limited by city boundaries, as this bird can even be seen in Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua.
The Madroño (Calycophyllum candidissimum) is the national tree of Nicaragua. With exceptionally hard wood and reddish bark that constantly peels off the trunk and branches, the Madroño can grow up to 20 meters in height. Its flowers are white and have a sweet fragrance, while its oblong leaves are glossy and dark green.