It was created by Ordinance No. 33 of November of 18, 1871, issued by General Miguel García Granados, with the following meaning. The Quetzal symbolizes freedom. The parchment, the date of the homeland’s independence; it bears the date of Central America’s independence: September 15, 1821. The laurel branches stand for victory, glory and knowledge. The rifles stand for strength. The swords, honor.

National Anthem

Happy Guatemala! Don’t ever let your altars Be profaned by the executioner Or slaves lick the yoke Or tyrants spit your face. If tomorrow your sacred soil Is threatened by foreign invasion, Free to the wind your beautiful flag Will cry to overcome or to die. CHOIR Free to the wind your beautiful flag Will cry to overcome or to die. And your people with fierce soul Dead rather than enslaved will be.

National Symbols

The Marimba. Its origin is very much discussed. Some attribute it to the African continent, others to Indonesia, and there are even those who believe it to be from the Amazon. You can find it both in the city and in the rural areas of the country, very much liked and appreciated by all Guatemalans who truly love their homeland.

National Flora

The Monja Blanca (Lycaste virginalis), is an epiphytic plant (epi = upon, fiton = plant), i.e., that lives upon other plants. It is one of the 35,000 species in the family of orchids. It occurs in the Guatemala’s northeastern area, and its commercialization is forbidden. The Monja Blanca(white nun) symbolizes peace, beauty and art.

National Tree

Its scientific name is Ceiba Pentandra Gaertin, belonging to the bombaceous family. It is one of the tallest trees in the tropical Americas. It is found in most of the Republic of Guatemala. Its seed is used for the production of cooking oil and soaps. The paste that remains out of the seed is used for livestock feed. The waste is milled and crushed as filler material in the preparation of mixed fertilizers. The Ceiba symbolizes life, perpetuity, greatness, kindness, beauty, strength and unity.

National Animal

The quetzal, belonging to the genus Pharomacrus mocinno, symbolizes freedom. It is the only bird in the world that when losing its freedom and being caged, dies of sadness. It represents our democracy, and freedom, measuring approximately 35 to 40 cm. Quetzals nest in trunks of dead trees. They spend most of the time in the high branches of the trees and are found in pairs or small groups of 4 to 6 individuals.


Tecún Umán (1499? - 1524) Legend holds that a Quiché king named Tecún Umán faced with his army the Spanish conquistadors in the battle of Pinal in 1524. In this battle, Tecún Umán would have fought against Don Pedro de Alvarado, who wounded him fatally, pushing his sword through Tecún Umán’s chest after the latter had killed the former’s horse. The legend goes on to say that a Quetzal that was flying over there fell on the bloodstained chest of the indigenous chief’s lifeless body. From then on, the national bird preserves the red color in its breast. This legendary character is considered to be Guatemala’s national hero, and several monuments have been erected in his honor.