New Mexico Flag

The New Mexico Flag And Zia Symbol History

New Mexico State Flag Facts

The New Mexico state flag is used during occasions where New Mexico is officially represented. It is the citizens’ privilege to use the flag as they see fit, so long as it is an appropriate circumstance and the flag is treated with dignity and respect as it is displayed and handled.

The New Mexico State Flag Design
The New Mexico flag uses the ancient Zia Sun symbol in red on a yellow background.

It is a very simple design, but it has an elaborate meaning.

The colors come from old Spain; yellow and red are found in the Spanish Cross of Burgundy flag, used during the reign Phillip the II (1556-1598). The Spanish viceroys used this flag during their time in the New World. (Check out New Mexico’s history here.) The red and yellow in the New Mexico flag honor Isabella I of Castile and stem from this part of our history.

new mexico flag, new mexico state flag, zia symbol
A Bold And Simple Design

The size of the Zia Sun is about one third of the entire flag. It has a group of four rays wherein one group has four rays each, all in right angles. The two innermost rays have sizes of about one fifth longer than that of the outermost rays. The center has a circle with a diameter of one third. The law specifies the dimension of the New Mexico flag be a ratio of 2:3.

New Mexico State Flag History
Dr. Harry P. Mera introduced the Zia symbol flag design in 1925 during a contest run by the Daughters of the American Revolution to design a contemporary New Mexico state flag. Though New Mexico became a state in 1912, it did not have an official flag until 1925.

Dr. Mera was an archaeologist and was familiar with the ancient symbols of Native peoples. His inspiration for the flag was drawn from a Zia symbol found on an old clay pot. That symbol was created by a woman from Zia Pueblo, New Mexico. Dr. Mera modified the design and used the royal colors of yellow and red from Spain to tie it all together.

Dr. Mera wanted to share the Zia symbol meanings of perfect friendship among united cultures not only within The Land of Enchantment, but also outside of the state, wherever New Mexico was being represented. This statement of inclusion and peace is even part of the state pledge, which is still recited after the Pledge of Allegiance in some school districts throughout the state.

In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association conducted a survey which found New Mexico to have the best designed flag of any U.S. state, territory, or Canadian province.

Show Your State Pride & Get Your Very Own New Mexico Flag!

The Zia Symbol Meaning

Zia Indians put high regard on the sun. For them, the sun is sacred. For many ancient cultures the sun was worshiped as an entity wholly necessary to life, and it appears the Zia Indians were no different. Due to the high regard they held the sun in, its symbol (the Zia) is found on ancient pottery and ceremonial vases.

The Zia Indians also regard the number four as sacred, shown by the sun having four points in the circle, each with four bars.

The Zia symbol represents the number four for the points in the compass, which are north, south, east, and west.

The four seasons of summer, autumn, winter, and spring are also represented.

The number four also corresponds to the periods within a day, which are the morning, noon, evening, and night.

Finally, the seasons of life are accounted for which are childhood, youth, middle adulthood, and late adulthood.

My Favorite Representation

It is also the belief of the Zia Indians that a human’s life has four obligations which are sacred and must be fulfilled. Each person should strive to have a strong physical body, pure spirit, crystal clear mind, and the desire to help others.

Isn't that a great principle to live by? I love it.
The Zia Flag Pledge

Many years ago the Zia salutation was recited after the Pledge of Allegiance by all students. Now only select school districts continue the tradition. The pledge is this:

"I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures."

I think it's a great message, don't you? I love my state.

Related Pages:
New Mexico State History
New Mexico State Capital History
New Mexico State Bird
New Mexico State Flower