Spain is a country full of rich history, culture, and traditions that have captivated people from all over the world. One of the most distinctive aspects of Spanish culture is its symbols, which represent the country’s deep-seated heritage and values. In this article, we will explore the fascinating origin of some of the most iconic Spanish symbols, delving into their historical significance and exploring their cultural contexts! Join me on a journey through the vibrant world of Spanish symbols!
#1. La concha del peregrino
El Camino de Santiago is a famous pilgrimage route in Spain that leads to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. People have been walking this route for over a thousand years as part of a religious journey. Along the way, pilgrims visit historic churches and monasteries, and meet people from all over the world. It’s not just a religious pilgrimage, but also a cultural and social experience that has become very popular among people of all beliefs.
Additionally, its most famous symbol is the scallop shell, known as “vieira“. In Christianity, these shells are used as a container for holy water during baptisms. They symbolise that the pilgrim begins a new life: They are reborn, and the shell is the symbol of that rebirth.
#2. Toro de Osborne
There’s nothing more iconic than this black bull’s silhouette!
The Group Osborne created it around more than 65 years ago as an advert to promote its Brandy de Jerez. Over time, the bull became part of the Spanish culture, and people see it now as a symbol of their country. Have you ever seen one? There are 92 distributed around the Spanish countryside!
NO8DO is the motto and logo of the City Council of Seville. It consists of the word NO, a wool yarn, and the syllabe DO.
Traditionally, historians have interpreted this symbol as “no-madeja-do” (no me ha dejado), which means “it has not abandoned me”. This refers to the city’s loyalty to the king Alfonso X the Wise, who fought against his son Sancho. We can find the NO8DO all over Seville!
The Indalo is a Bronze Age magic symbol that was found in a cave in Vélez-Blanco (Almería).
According to legend, the Indalo represents a ghostly figure that had the power to hold a rainbow in his hands. Nowadays, it’s been officially adopted as the symbol of the province Almería. It represents good luck and protection, and we can see it in buildings, houses and merchandising!
Also called cuatrisquel, the lauburu is one of the most representative symbols of the Basque culture. In Euskera, lauburu means “four heads”.
Unfortunately, we don’t know its original meaning. Some say it might represent the sun, male virility or the four stages of life. People believe it brings protection and good luck, so we can find it on places such as façades, doors or gravestones.
#6. Juderías de España
The Jews Quarters of Spain (Red de Juderías de España) is an organisation that aims to preserve the historical and cultural legacy of the Sephardi Jews, who were expelled from Spain in 1492.
This symbol indicates that there is some presence from this culture (e.g. an old Jewish quarter, a synagogue, etc.) We can find it in cities like Córdoba, Toledo, Barcelona, Segovia or Jaén, among others.