Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Zia flag of New Mexico

When I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1970, I was immediately captivated by the flag of New Mexico. It was just so different from any other state flag I had seen. It seemed to be the perfect banner for the Land of Enchantment.

The colors were so bright and cheery and I loved the symbol on the flag. Someone told me it was the Zia sun symbol. I wanted to know more about it. Back in those ancient days, you could not just hop on the internet and do a search. I had to go to the library and find an encyclopedia and read what little information I could find available.

Today you can research anything, and I have learned more about the flag of the State of New Mexico. The yellow and red colors come from the country of Spain; the first yellow and red Spanish flag was brought to New Mexico by the Spanish explorers in 1540.

After New Mexico was admitted to statehood in 1912, it was 8 years before a flag was designed for the state. Dr. Harry Mera of Santa Fe won a contest to design the flag, and he picked the sun symbol of the Zia Indians for the flag.

The symbol has four sets of four rays. The Zias believed their Great Spirit gave them good gifts in groups of four:

Four directions - north, east, south and west.
Four seasons - spring, summer, fall and winter.
The day - sunrise, noon, evening and night.
Life itself - childhood, youth, middle years and old age.

The circle in the center binds all the rays together. It represents life and love, without a beginning or end. I like that.

The North American Vexillological Association chose the New Mexico state flag as best state flag. I agree with their choice!

I have always considered the number four a lucky number for me (there are 3 fours in my birthdate) and perhaps I was drawn to the groups of four sun rays in the flag. Today I use the NM flag as my avatar on the political website I administrate, and that brilliant striking flag got some notice when I first chose it. You can spot my posts a mile away with that avatar!

When I move to NM, I shall get a large NM state flag to fly along with my American flag at my new home.

Flag of New Mexico, Wikipedia
New Mexico tops state flags survey