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15 Colorful Lyrics from National Anthems Around the World

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The world's national anthems are a delightful mixed bag of patriotism, poetry, and the peculiar. While some of these verses rarely receive airtimeand there’s always risk that something is lost in translationeach lyric is like a postcard, rich with details about a country's history and culture. Enjoy!

1. AUSTRIA: WE HAVE HAMMERS

Land of mountains, land by the river,
Land of fields, land of cathedrals,
Land of hammers, with a promising future!

Land of Mountains, Land by the River (Hammers are a symbol of industry.)

2. ARGENTINA: ALERT THE ZOMBIE REVOLUTIONARIES 

The Inca is roused in his tomb
and fire is rekindled in his bones,
on seeing his sons renewing
his homeland’s former splendor

Himno Nacional Argentino (Canción Patriótica)

3. GABON: NO SORCERERS ALLOWED

Yes, may the happy days dreamed by our ancestors
Come for us at last, rejoice our hearts,
And banish the sorcerers, those perfidious deceivers
Who were sowing poison and were spreading fear.

The Concord

4. COLOMBIA: METAL BAND NAME #1, "A CONSTELLATION OF CYCLOPS"

Thus the motherland is formed,
Thermopylaes are bursting forth;
a constellation of cyclops
its night brightened.
The trembling flower
finding the wind mortal,
underneath the laurels
safety sought.

Himno nacional de Colombia

5. SENEGAL: METAL BAND NAME #2, "LION'S FROTH"

Senegal, you the son of the lion's froth,
Sprung from the night to the gallop of horses.

Pluck Your Koras, Strike the Balafons/The Red Lion

6. PARAGUAY: WE ARE ROME!

A new Rome, the Fatherland shall proudly display
Two leaders of name and valor
Who, rivals, like Romulus and Remus
Divided government and power.

Paraguayans, The Republic or Death

7. ROMANIA: NO YOU'RE NOT, WE'RE ROME!

It's now or never that we prove to the world
That in these veins still flows Roman blood
And in our hearts for ever we glorify a name
Triumphant in battles, the name of Trajan.

Wake Up, Romanian!

8. BANGLADESH: LET'S PLAY IN THE DIRT

O mother! The fragrance from your mango groves makes me wild with joy,
Ah, what a thrill!

My Golden Bengal

9. HONDURAS: SHOUT OUT TO FRANCE

It was France, the free, the heroic,
Which in its dreams of centuries slept,
Awoke irate to life
At the virile protest of Danton:
It was France, who sent to the death
The head of the consecrated King,
And which built up proudly at its side,
The altar of the goddess of Reason.

National Anthem of Honduras

10. ANDORRA: WE <3 FRANCE (OR AT LEAST THE FRANKS), TOO

The great Charlemagne, my father,
liberated me from the Saracens
And from heaven he gave me life ...
I am the only remaining daughter,
of the Carolingian empire

The Great Charlemagne

11. ALGERIA: SCREW YOU, FRANCE!

O France,
Past is the time of palavers
We closed it as we close a book
O France! The day to settle the accounts has come!

The Pledge

12. FRANCE: DON'T MESS WITH US

Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
The shame of all parties,
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will finally receive their reward!
Everyone is a soldier to combat you
If they fall, our young heroes,
The earth will produce new ones,
Ready to fight against you!

The Song of Marseille

13. CABO VERDE: MOTIVATE YOURSELF WITH THIS BEAUTIFUL TRUTH

Hope is as big as the sea
Which embraces us

Song of Freedom

14. ARMENIA: DEMOTIVATE YOURSELF WITH THIS DEPRESSING TRUTH 

Death is the same everywhere,
A man dies but once,
Blessed is the one that dies
For the freedom of his nation.

Our Fatherland

15. KIRIBATI: LET'S MAKE THIS THE ANTHEM FOR THE PLANET, PLEASE? 

Stand up, People of Kiribati!
Sing with jubilation!
Prepare to accept responsibility
And to help each other!
Be steadfastly righteous!
Love all our people!
Be steadfastly righteous!
Love all our people!

The attainment of contentment
And peace by our people
Will be achieved when all our hearts beat as one,
Love one another!
Promote happiness and unity!
Love one another!
Promote happiness and unity!

We beseech You, O God,
To protect and lead us
In the days to come.
Help us with Your loving hand.
Bless our Government
and all our people!
Bless our Government
and all our people!

Stand Up, Kiribati

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Hulton Archive, Getty Images
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At One Swiss University, You Can Now Major in Yodeling
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Switzerland’s yodeling tradition began in remote Alpine meadows, but now, new generations of students can opt to learn the folk art in a college classroom. The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts has become the nation’s first university to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in yodeling, according to The Local.

Lucerne University has offered folk music degrees since 2012, but it took the department several years to find a qualified yodeling teacher. They finally settled on Nadja Räss, a famous Swiss yodeler who runs her own academy in Zurich. Under her tutelage, three to four incoming students will learn to yodel-ay-ee-oo while also taking classes in musical history, theory, and business.

Yodeling is today performed on stages, but it was once used as a method of communication among Alpine shepherds. By alternating falsetto notes with natural singing tones, they were able to communicate across mountains and round up livestock. These lyric-less cries developed into songs by the 19th century.

Today, the technique is no longer just for shepherds. Yodeling is undergoing a musical revival and occasionally enjoying five minutes of YouTube fame.

In 2014, Swiss officials announced that they intended to submit Alpine yodeling for consideration to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, along with traditions like mechanical watchmaking, typography, and managing the risk of avalanches, according to The Telegraph. Due to current guidelines, countries can only supply one entry each year. At least Switzerland’s yodelers will now have new opportunities to study their craft as they await their chance to shine on the international stage.

[h/t The Local]

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Chris Ford, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
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The Magical—and Endangered—Whistling Language of Oaxaca
Chris Ford, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Chris Ford, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

In the rugged cloud forests of northern Oaxaca, Mexico, the Chinantecan people communicate in one of the world's most unusual languages—not by speaking, but by whistling.

In the clip below, spotted by Open Culture, Dr. Mark Sicoli of Georgetown University and David Yetman of the University of Arizona visit the region as part of an episode for PBS's In the Americas with David Yetman. Their quest is to find out how many people still speak (or rather, whistle) the tongue, which is used to communicate across the hills and valleys of the mountainous terrain. Along the way, they discover how the language has been involved in the community's rites of passage, town meetings, gender norms, and cornfields. They also get a beaming crowd of schoolchildren to whistle "I'm tired," and witness a whistled conversation about a taco. Perhaps not surprisingly, the language is in danger of dying out—unless the youngest generation can save it.

As special as the language is, the Chinantecan whistlers of Oaxaca aren't alone: 42 examples of whistled human tongues have been documented, in the Amazon, Turkey, Greece, and the Canary Islands, to name just a few spots. The languages are usually found in places with high slopes or thick forests, where regular spoken communication is tricky. Whistling, it turns out, isn't just for the birds.

[h/t Open Culture]

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