Himno Nacional de Guatemala

The Guatemala National Anthem

The Himno Nacional de Guatemala (the Guatemala National Anthem) has impressed me for the solemn manner in which Guatemalans sing it. After seeing pop stars give every possible rendition of the National Anthem of the United States, a simple (but very long - sometimes running over six minutes) version of a national anthem is refreshing.

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In 1887, the government of Guatemala ran a contest to choose a national anthem.

himno nacional de guatemala
José Joaquín Palma
Many distinguished poets took part in the contest, but at the end, the music of the composer Rafael Alvarez Ovalle was chosen along with the Himno Popular de Guatemala by the poet Ramón P. Molina.

In 1896, the government took another look at the anthem and decided to go with another entry, submitted with the pseudonym, "Anonymous" and keeping the same music of Rafael Alvarez Ovalle. In an official ceremony in 1897, this version was named the official Himno Nacional de Guatemala. The real author of the words to the original Guatemala national anthem was not discovered until 1911, when it was found out that a Cuban poet, José Joaquín Palma, was the anonymous author of the anthem.

The Himno Nacional de Guatemala consists of four verses and four distinct choruses and the entire anthem is sung each time, which is different from many countries who sing only part of the national anthem.

In 1934, the verses were embellished, some of the violent language adjusted and minor grammatical issues corrected by Professor José María Bonilla Ruano, by order of the dictator Jorge Ubico.




Below are two videos of the Himno Nacional de Guatemala - the first is instrumental and the second is vocal.

Scroll down or click here to see the Spanish lyrics or English lyrics after you start the video...

or...

Download the lyrics to the Himno Nacional de Guatemala

Spanish only or in a bilingual English/Spanish version (right-click to download pdf file).


Himno Nacional de Guatemala (1934)

Verse 1:

¡Guatemala feliz...! que tus aras
no profane jamás el verdugo;
ni haya esclavos que laman el yugo
ni tiranos que escupan tu faz.

Si mañana tu suelo sagrado
lo amenaza invasión extranjera,
libre al viento tu hermosa bandera
a vencer o a morir llamará.

Chorus 1:

Libre al viento tu hermosa bandera
a vencer o a morir llamará;
que tu pueblo con ánima fiera
antes muerto que esclavo será.

Verse 2:

De tus viejas y duras cadenas
tú forjaste con mano iracunda,
el arado que el suelo fecunda
y la espada que salva el honor.

Nuestros padres lucharon un día
encendidos en patrio ardimiento,
y lograron sin choque sangriento
colocarte en un trono de amor.

Chorus 2:

Y lograron sin choque sangriento
colocarte en un trono de amor,
que de patria en enérgico acento
dieron vida al ideal redentor.

Verse 3:

Es tu enseña pedazo de cielo
en que prende una nube su albura,
y ¡ay! de aquel que con ciega locura
sus colores pretenda manchar.

Pues tus hijos valientes y altivos,
que veneran la paz cual presea,
nunca esquivan la ruda pelea
si defienden su tierra y su hogar.

Chorus 3:

Nunca esquivan la ruda pelea
si defienden su tierra y su hogar,
que es tan sólo el honor su alma idea
y el altar de la patria su altar.

Verse 4:

Recostada en el ande soberbio,
de dos mares al ruido sonoro,
bajo el ala de grana y de oro
te adormeces del bello Quetzal.

Ave indiana que vive en tu escudo,
paladión que proteje tu suelo;
¡ojalá que remonte su vuelo,
más que el condor y el aguila real!

Chorus 4:

¡Ojalá que remonte su vuelo,
más que el condor y el aguila real!
y en sus alas levante hasta el cielo,
Guatemala, tu nombre inmortal!

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English translation of the National Anthem of Guatemala

Verse 1

Fortunate Guatemala! May your altars
Never be profaned by cruel men.
May there never be slaves who submit to their yoke,
Or tyrants who deride you.

If tomorrow your sacred soil
Should be threatened by foreign invasion,
Your fair flag, flying freely in the wind,
Will call to you: Conquer or die.

Chorus 1

Your fair flag, flying freely in the wind,
Will call to you: Conquer or die;
For your people, with heart and soul,
Would prefer death to slavery.

Verse 2

From your old and hard chains
You forged, with an ire-driven hand,
The plow that fertilizes the soil
And the sword that saves honor.

Our fathers fought one day,
Lit up in patriotic burning
And they were able, without bloody clash,
To place you on a throne of love.

Chorus 2

And they were able, without bloody clash,
To place you on a throne of love,
That our Nation, in energetic assent,
Gave life to the ideal redeemer.

Verse 3

Your emblem shows a piece of the sky
In which a cloud gets its whiteness
Wretched is he who dares in madness
stain your colors

Well, your brave and proud sons
who admire the peace within
will never avoid the rough battles
if they are to defend their land and their home.

Chorus 3

They will never avoid the rough battles
if they are to defend their land and their home
that honor is the idea that reigns their souls
and the altar of the mother country their altar

Verse 4

Lying in the magnificent Ande
with two oceans at hearing distance
under the wing of seeds and gold
you become entranced from the beautiful quetzal

Native bird that lives in your seal
protector that protects your soil
hopefully he will fly high
more than the condor and the royal eagle!

Chorus 4

Hopefully he will fly high
more than the condor and the royal eagle
and in his wings, raise up to the sky:
Guatemala, your immortal name!

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