Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Celebrating El Salvador

Wednesday, 9-14-11

Today we had a special celebration at the school. Over the past few days we’ve learned about Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica because they share the same Independence Day as El Salvador: September 15. So today we were going to celebrate and talk about El Salvador. As I’ve done the past couple days, I want to share some information about El Salvador here before describing the morning’s events.

Flag- The Salvadoran National Flag is composed of three horizontal stripes: The first and third are blue with white in the center. The two blue stripes symbolize the two oceans that are on either side of Central America and the white color symbolizes peace. In the middle on the white stripe is the national coat of arms or the words “Dios Unión Libertad” (God Union Liberty). The coat of arms is always on the flag if the organization or group that has the flag is governmental or military. The flag will sometimes have the words “Dios Union Libertad” in gold letters if the flag is owned by an individual or organization other than government, such as schools.

Coat of arms- The coat of arms of El Salvador has been in use in its current form since 1912. Its center consists of a triangle, in which five volcanoes rise out of the sea that symbolize the five member states of the United Provinces of Central America. Above the volcanoes is a red Phrygian cap on a staff before a golden sun and the date 15 September 1821. Over it is a rainbow which means peace. Behind the coat of arms there are five flags representing the flags of the Federal Republic of Central America. Under it, there is a scroll which states the national motto of El Salvador: Dios, Unión, Libertad. All of this is surrounded by a laurel garland which is tied together under the national flag. The garland is divided into 14 different parts, which symbolize the 14 Departments of El Salvador. All this is surrounded by golden letters: “República de El Salvador en La América Central.”

Bird- Torogoz (sometimes called Guardabarranco or Talapo). It was declared a national bird by Legislative Agreement on October 21, 1999. The torogoz received this honor because of its unique beauty expressed in its multicolored plumage. It is a bird unsuited to captivity and a symbol of family unity.

Flower- Flor de Izote (Izote flower). The national flower was officially recognized on December 21, 1995 by the Legislature. The Izote flower is native to the Mesoamerican region, which includes the Central American countries. It is part of the lily family. Among its uses are ornamental, edible, and it is used to manufacture textiles.

Tree- Maquilishaut (pink poui tree). The Maquilishuat is the national tree of El Salvador. According to Legislative Decree #44 of September 1, 1939. This tree can measure up to 15 meters high. Its large and majestic pink flowers offer varying degrees of intensity in color. When in bloom, the maquilishuat is one of the most beautiful in the region. Its wood is very thin, making it highly prized for cabinet work. The tree is also said to have medicinal properties.

Motto- Dios, Unión, Libertad (God, Union, Liberty)

Capital- San Salvador

El Salvador's flag with the coat of arms

El Salvador's flag without the coat of arms

El Salvador's coat of arms

Torogoz - El Salvador's national bird

Flor de Izote - El Salvador's national flower

Maquilishuat - El Salvador's national tree

When I arrived at school lots of students and teachers were preparing the stage for the morning’s ceremony about El Salvador. I walked into my second grade class where several kids had on costumes. When I asked what they were for they told me they were going to do a dance. I got a couple pictures of them and then walked outside to see what everyone was doing.

People were hanging balloons and streamers on the stage in the main courtyard area. There were cutouts of a torogoz and a maquilishuat, a flor de izote made partially out of paper, and the flags of all five countries that celebrate their Independence Day tomorrow. In front of the stage was a big poster board with information on it about the Salvadoran flag, the National Anthem, the Prayer to the Flag (Oración de la Bandera), and the national bird, tree, and flower.

Class normally starts around 7:30am but today we started about 15 minutes late because everyone was decorating the stage. Once it was time to start all the kids got into lines with the rest of their class. Then the National Anthem was played while the flag was marched toward the stage. When the song had finished a little boy got up on stage to recite the Prayer to the Flag, which is like the pledge of allegiance. He said one line at a time while everyone repeated what he said.

Then it was time for my 2nd graders to do a little dance. They got up on stage and lined up. The music started and they all began to dance. It wasn’t anything complicated but they sure looked adorable. The song lasted about 5 minutes and they bowed at the end. We all applauded as they walked off stage. A couple more kids took the stage to recite some poems about El Salvador. They all did very well. Then the band played while the flag was marched out of the courtyard.

After that one of the teachers got up on stage to talk about “amor de la patria” (love of your homeland). I must admit that I wasn’t able to listen to most of what he was saying because by that time the kids were getting restless and I was trying to help keep them in line. But we’d already been standing there for an hour so I understood why they were feeling so antsy. He talked about 15 minutes and then everyone was released for recess.

I stayed to teach for a while after that. Since it was mostly a fun day for the kids I read some books in my classes. The books are in English and Spanish which the kids really like. I didn’t have my last class because they were out on the street practicing marching for tomorrow. So I got to go home early. I’m sure tomorrow will be a big day!

My 2nd grade class


He posed himself like this

Setting up the stage at the school

Izote flower

Holding onto the spiffy balloons

Group effort

I told him I could see his stomach

We're getting there

Good friends

Teachers and students

Photo, please!

Behind the flags

The national bird

Prayer to the Flag
(like the pledge of allegiance)

Map of Central America

Marvin is a stud (Cecilia's son)


Everyone gathered together

Parading the flag toward the stage

During the Oracion de la Bandera

All the flags

Getting ready to perform

Acknowledging the crowd

Dance, dance, dance,

Bow and applause

Everyone did well for a while

But after over an hour of standing kids get tired

Not sure what they have in their hands

Sitting on the ground


Few remain paying attention

Playing with their friend's head

Poster created by one of the sixth grade classes

To hear the National Anthem of El Salvador go to: 

1 comment:

Matt said...

There is so much meaning and symbolism behind the flag and the coat of arms. The torogoz is such a beautiful bird. It was such a thrill to see some when we were there. The kids doing the dance are pretty cute. It is wonderful that everyone has so much national pride.