10 Puerto Rico Flag Symbolism, Meaning, History, Facts, and Trivia

Flag of Puerto Rico Symbolism Facts & Meaning: History & Trivia

Puerto Rico Flag History

The “Grito de Lares” Flag, which was used throughout the 1868 revolution against Spanish control, is the origin of the Puerto Rican flag. It features a white cross, blue squares in the top corners, and red squares in the lower corners, as well as a white star in the upper left square. These colors represented optimism, purity, bloodshed in the name of freedom, and liberty.

While the “Grito de Lares” Flag symbolized Puerto Rican nationalism and the struggle for independence, it was never legally chosen as the national flag. The present flag was formally approved on July 25, 1952, when Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States. It is made up of five horizontal stripes (red and white) and a blue triangle with a white star in the center of it, signifying Puerto Rican identity.

Puerto Rico First vs Present-Day Flag

The first flag associated with Puerto Rico, used during the Lares Revolution of 1868, featured a white cross dividing the flag into four squares. The upper left and right squares were blue, while the lower left and right squares were red. In the upper left blue square, there was a white star. This design symbolized the desire for Puerto Rican independence from Spanish colonial rule and is commonly known as the “Grito de Lares” flag.

The present-day flag of Puerto Rico, adopted in 1952, has five horizontal bands: three red and two white, which collectively represent various aspects. On the hoist side, there is a blue equilateral triangle with a white five-pointed star located within the blue triangle.

Designer of Puerto Rico Flag

Mariana “Brazos de Oro” Bracetti created the “Grito de Lares” flag, which represents Puerto Rico for the first time. Aspired to be the symbol of Puerto Rican freedom from Spanish colonial rule, the “Grito de Lares” flag symbolized this goal.

Antonio Vélez Alvarado created the current Puerto Rican flag, which was accepted in 1952. It was modeled after the Cuban flag, but with the colors reversed. However, the flag’s final design, featuring a blue triangle and white star, was determined through a collaborative effort by a committee of Puerto Rican leaders when Puerto Rico became a U.S. commonwealth in 1952. The flag has a complex history, including its use by Puerto Rican revolutionaries before the U.S. takeover in 1898 and its resurgence during the 1950 Puerto Rican Nationalist Party uprising.

Symbolic Meaning of Puerto Rico Flag Design

The Puerto Rican flag’s design, colors, and figures carry significant symbolic meanings:


  • Five equal horizontal red and white bars constitute the flag. The same width of these stripes is intended to represent the peaceful and balanced cohabitation of various components of Puerto Rico.


  • Red: The red stripes signify the price of autonomous government and the sacrifices made by those who struggled for Puerto Rico’s independence and liberty.
  • White: The white stripes symbolize the freedoms and rights of Puerto Ricans, embodying notions of peace, unity, and the collective quest for a fair and equitable society.
  • Blue: The blue triangle that stretches from the hoist side portrays the sky and the surrounding coastal waters. It symbolizes Puerto Rico’s natural beauty and closeness to the sea.


  • White Star: Positioned inside the blue triangle, the white star represents Puerto Rico’s dual identity as an American commonwealth and an island in the Caribbean Sea. It also symbolizes the people of Puerto Rico’s dreams and hopes for a brighter future.

Puerto Rico Flag Symbolic Importance

For Puerto Ricans, both on the island and in the diaspora, the Puerto Rican flag is deeply symbolic of their common history and sense of identity. It represents Puerto Ricans’ attempts to stand up for their rights and maintain their culture, and it is intimately linked to the island’s historical battle for independence and self-determination. Reminding Puerto Ricans of their tenacity and resolve in the face of adversity, the flag promotes pride in the country and unanimity. It also plays a major part in cultural festivities and symbolizes Puerto Rico’s distinct political status as a U.S. commonwealth. It acts as a unifying symbol that cuts across political divides. In the end, the flag symbolizes the island’s tenacity and optimism for a more prosperous and bright future.

Puerto Rico Flag Raising Ceremony

In Puerto Rico, flag-raising rituals are customary on both national and municipal holidays, such as Independence Day, Constitution Day, and Discovery Day. The national song is frequently sung during these occasions, along with speakers. In addition, flag-raising ceremonies are held daily in government buildings and schools throughout Puerto Rico as a show of respect and patriotism. Schools integrate flag-raising into their morning routines, which also include the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem.

In Puerto Rico, lowering its flag to half-mast is a symbol of respect and grief that is usually practiced in remembrance of national disasters or the passing of well-known individuals. Official declarations from government officials, including the governor, have approved this practice. There are other occasions when the flag may be lowered, such as September 23, the anniversary of the Grito de Lares rebellion. The length of time the flag is flown at half-mast varies based on how important the occasion or person is. It usually lasts one day but can be several days.

Puerto Rico Flag Rules and Etiquette

Flag rules and etiquette for the flag of Puerto Rico are similar to those of many other national flags. Here are some key guidelines for displaying and respecting the Puerto Rican flag:

  • Display with Respect: The Puerto Rican flag shouldn’t ever be employed in a derogatory, commercial, or advertising manner and ought to be constantly flown with the utmost respect and dignity. The flag should never touch the ground or any other surface beneath it.
  • Proper Positioning: The Puerto Rican flag, if flown along with the US national flag on a flagpole, the flag should be flown below it.
  • Clean and Well-Maintained: When displayed, the flag must be clean and in excellent condition. Flags that are tattered, faded, or dirty shouldn’t be flown.
  • Pledge of Allegiance: People should stand at attention with a raised hand over their hearts while saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Puerto Rican flag.
  • National Holidays: At major events like Independence Day and national holidays, the flag has to be flown proudly.
  • Parades and Ceremonies: The flag should be handled carefully during parades and flag ceremonies, and attendees should salute or demonstrate respect as it passes by.

Traditional Puerto Rico Flag Display Customs

These local traditions and cultural practices may have unique customs related to the Puerto Rican flag. Here are some traditional practices that differ from official flag rules:

  • Fiestas Patronales: In many Puerto Rican towns and cities, the flag is prominently displayed during local fiestas patronales (patron saint festivals). The flag may be carried in processions or hung in streets, symbolizing local pride and devotion.
  • Public Murals: The Puerto Rican flag frequently appears as a focal point in public murals and artwork to represent the history, culture, and resilience of the country as a whole.
  • Independence Movement: During occasions connected with the Puerto Rican liberation movement, the present flag, or the “Grito de Lares” flag, may be flown with particular importance, signifying the continuous fight for autonomy.
  • Balcony Displays: It is traditional to raise the Puerto Rican flag from rooftops, balconies, or windows on different occasions and festivals as a symbol of joy, solidarity, and celebration.

Puerto Rico Flag Trivia

In 2017, a group of Puerto Ricans in Lares constructed a giant Puerto Rican flag that measured more than 101,000 square feet. In the process of unfolding, more than a thousand individuals attended the Juan Ponce de León University exhibition. In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Grito de Lares rebellion and as a sign of solidarity and resiliency following Hurricane Maria, the flag was made during the Lares Bicentennial festivities. Guinness World Records has certified this unique banner as the world’s largest Puerto Rican flag, and it is presently on display at Juan Ponce de León University in Lares.

Puerto Rico Flag in Legends and Mythology

While there is no historical evidence to provide needed support, Puerto Rico has legends concerning the flag’s design by poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió as well as a folktale linking the flag’s colors to the island’s three racial groups: Taino Indians, Spanish colonists, and African slaves. These stories may not be based on historical facts but hold cultural significance, reflecting the island’s heritage and diversity. They contribute to Puerto Rican cultural identity and pride.

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