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Welcome to Spain!

Spain’s symbols are bold, bright, and passionate. Depending on one’s perspective, they are either very sexy or sexist, from the macho bull and matador to the feminine beauty of the carnation.

Spain Symbols Flag Spain Symbols Coat of Arms
Flag and Coat of Arms

For millions of people around the world, the most iconic Spanish symbol is probably the bull, which is commonly described as the national animal. More precisely, the honors are heaped on the Spanish fighting bull, or toro bravo. The bull has been a symbol of strength, power, and bravery in Spanish culture for centuries.

If Spain had an official sport, it would doubtless be bullfighting, though soccer might give it a run for the money. However, bullfighting is very controversial. According to Humane Society International, a quarter million bulls are killed in the ring each year. Bull fighting is now illegal in most countries and has even been outlawed in some Spanish communities.

Spain’s unofficial colors are red and yellow. Both colors can be seen in the carnation, Spain’s national flower. However, it is the red, or scarlet, carnation that is most closely associated with Spanish culture. The vibrant blossoms are sometimes compared to flamenco dancers’ whirling skirts. The dancers often wear red carnations in their hair.

Some say Spain’s national flower is a flamenco dancer.

One might expect the olive to serve as Spain’s national tree and fruit both. In fact, Spain apparently doesn’t have a national fruit, though the tomato is sometimes described as such. The national tree is variously called the evergreen oak, holly oak, or Holm oak.

The Eagle of Saint John is a heraldic eagle associated mostly with Catholic Monarchs. The eagle appeared on the shield of the 15th-century Spanish Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand. It was used by the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (1939–1977) as a symbol of his regime and later became a symbol of the Spanish transition to democracy (1977–1981). Perhaps that is why the Spanish imperial eagle is considered Spain’s national bird.

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