|New Mexico Flag|
The colors on New Mexico's state flag are the red and yellow of old Spain. The simple, elegant center design is the ancient Zia sun symbol, which represents the unique character of New Mexico.
The Zia Indians of New Mexico regard the Sun as sacred. Their symbol for the sun (a red circle with groups of rays pointing in four directions) is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun.
Four is the sacred number of the Zia and is seen repeated in the four points radiating from the circle, each consisting of four bars. To the Zia Indians, the number four represents:
the four points of the compass (east, west, north, and south);
the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter);
the four periods of each day (morning, noon, evening, and night);
the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle years, and old age);
the Zia's belief that with life comes four sacred obligations: one must develop a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of others.
For the first 14 years of statehood, New Mexico had no official flag. In 1920 a contest to design the new state flag was won by Dr. Harry Mera of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mera was an archaeologist who was familiar with the Zia Sun Symbol.