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Zarcero (Alajuela, Costa Rica)

Canton de Zarcero - former Alfaro Ruiz Canton

Last modified: 2020-04-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: zarcero | alajuela | alfaro ruiz |
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image by Fred Drews, 21 March 2020

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Zarcero Canton (10,726 inhabitants in 2010; 15,513 ha) was established by Law No. 27 of 21 June 1915, as the 11th canton in Alajuela Province; the new canton was formerly the 4th district of Naranjo Canton, itself established by Decree No. 2 of 9 March 1886. The canton was originally named Alfaro Ruiz, for a hero of the Campaign of 1856-1857. On 16 June 2010, the canton was renamed Zarcero, for its capital town, as it was already better known at the national and international level.Zarcero Canton is made of seven districts : Zarcero (including the villages of Santa Teresita and Zarcero), Laguna (incl. La Pena), Tapezco, Palmira (incl. Palmira and Pueblo Nuevo), Guadalupe (incl. Anateri, Guadalupe and San Luis), Zapote (incl. Lajas and Santa Elena) and Las Brisas (incl. La Legua, Santa Rosa and Los Ángeles [Bajo Tapezco]. While the first five districts of the list date back to the canton's foundation, Zapote and Las Brisas were established in 1939 and 1998, respectively.
Source: Cantonal website
Ivan Sache, 21 July 2013

The Flag

The flag of Zarcero is prescribed by a Municipal Decree No. 399, adopted on 1 July 2013 by the Municipal Council and signed on 8 July 2013 by the Mayor. The flag is horizontally divided celeste blue-green-winey red, the stripes being separated by a thin white fimbriation. Along the hoist is placed a white triangle charged with seven red stars lined along the inner sides of the triangle.
Celeste blue represents the sky and the water resources of the canton. Green symbolizes the mountains, the fertile fields, agriculture, aspiration to an abundant life in our natural environment, and growth. Green also represents health as well as equilibrium and harmony with the environment. Combined with celeste blue, green evokes re-emergence and renovation. Green also represents the cypress trees that enjoys the visitor's view and release a pleasant flavour, even when not fructed.
Winey red recalls the historical origin of the canton's name, which refers to sarsaparille (aka rough binweed, "Smilax aspera".; in Spanish, "zarzaparrilla" or "zarzamora"), once common in the canton. The fruit of sarsaparille turn from bright red to winey red during ripening. Winey red also recalls the colour of the cheeks of the locals, caused by the cold local climate and the frequent trade winds. Winey red represents the colour of the criollo peach. White is a symbol of purity, limpidity and innocence.The seven stars on the white triangle represent the seven districts united in peace, tranquillity and solidarity. White also represents the white clouds common during the rainy season.
The width of the triangle is 1/3 of the flag's width. The height of each colour stripe is 33.3% of the flag's height.
The colours are prescribed as:
- Celeste blue: Pantone P 121-16C;
- Green: Pantone P 151 - 16C;
- Winey red: Pantone P 49 - 16 C.
[These odd prescriptions do not appear to match genuine Pantone codes.]
Sources: Flag page, cantonal website and Decree No. 399, cantonal website
Ivan Sache, 21 July 2013

Previous Flag

image by Ivan Sache, 21 July 2013

The [current] flag was selected through a public contest, set up to replace the flag previously sued; horizontally divided black-orange, this flag was turned down because there was no genuine reference explaining the origin of the colours.The proposals were expected to represent all the settlements forming the canton. The use of colours and/or elements representing the peach flower and the leaves and fruit of sarsaparille was suggested. The proposals should include no more than four colours, with the explanation given for each of them. The deadline for proposal submission was 7 June 2013
Sources: Contest announcement, cantonal website and a Facebook message, dated 15 July 2013, claims that the flag was designed by merging the two proposals that won the contest.
Ivan Sache, 21 July 2013

Coat of Arms

image contributed by Fred Drews, 23 March 2006