Seville Snapshots: NO8DO and Seville’s Most Popular Urban Legend

Nuzzled beneath the seated San Fernando, San Isidoro, and San Leandro on Seville’s city crest is the cryptic symbol: NO8DO. The city’s motto, No madeja do, commonly said as No me ha dejado, makes an appearance on everything from the city flag to the sides of city buses to the drain covers on busy roads.

The words NO and DO surround what resembles a figure 8. While I assumed it was an infinity sign and have heard it was supposed to represent hay, it’s actually a spool of yarn. The Spanish word for this is madeja, so together, the anagram is NO MADEJA DO, or in English: It [Seville] hasn’t left me.

The story behind the symbol (you can read it on  Inside the Travel Lab), isn’t as important as why it’s important to me.

When I received notice I’d be living in Seville in late June, 2007, I immediately consulted with my Alpha Delta Pi sorority sisters about the city that many had studied in. I got long mantilla-like sighs when they said, that city takes a piece of your heart. Much like leaving one’s heart in San Francisco, Seville quickly won mine with its charm, its mudejar architecture and the haunting saetas and cante hondos I’d fall asleep to each night while living in Triana.

Using Camarón’s long distance lens on baking afternoon, I realized that the five cryptic symbols are also embossed on the city’s light posts. The way the light from the wrought.iron lamps floods the streets next to the lit-up Cathedral, bathing the regal Avenida de la Constitución in a golden color, is magical. Seville will never, ever leave my consciousness or my heart.

Got anything special to share about the city you call home? I love urban legends, ghost stories and the like, so please share!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Ooooh what a fabulous post!

  2. I never noticed they put that on the lampposts either! Very cool. It’s everywhere in Sevilla though, so I’m not surprised.

    In Barcelona there’s a fountain on Las Ramblas, and if you drink from it, you’ll supposedly come back to Barcelona in the future. I drank from it, obviously. :)
    Jessica recently posted..Weird Animal Vocabulary in SpanishMy Profile

  3. I once had a roommate who was obsessed with Sevilla and she tried to explain to me the NO8DO. I remember it had something to do with the saying “no me ha dejado” and when I was in Sevilla I noticed the saying was plastered everywhere! Now I understand the whole “no me ha dejado” thing!

    I recently wrote a post about the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, since the author Washington Irving was from my area and set his most famous ghost story near the real life town of Tarrytown. The town of Sleepy Hollow does exist, though the legend of a headless horseman was simply made up by Washington Irving. And what’s even cooler, Irving has ties to Spain since he worked for the US government as some kind of minister and lived at the Alhambra palace while he wrote his book Tales of the Alhambra. I remember everywhere I went in Andalusia (especially in Granada), the Spanish tour guides always liked to bring up Washington Irving and his “most famous book” the Tales of the Alhambra.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Tales from the Alhambra is a hugeeee boring read! I read it in Spanish after picking it up secondhand in Madrid for cheap. It was a struggle to finish, but the part about the bandoleros was tela de cool!

  4. Wonderful post- I’m a long time stalker of your blog. I lived in Sevile back in 2007 and now teach Spanish back in Colorado. I always loved to see all of the NO8DO signs all over the city- and it is true, it never leaves you!

  5. Cat, I absolutely love this entry. I feel like I can identify with the sentiments even if the NO8DO is new for me; I believe that sharing what is unique to your adopted home and how it has become meaningful to you makes for some of the best expat writing.
    Cassandra recently posted..Teaching English in the Ukraine: LucyMy Profile

  6. Ah ha. That’s what it means. I was wondering about that symbol and what it means… thanks!
    Lauren @ roamingtheworld recently posted..Guest Interview on My Spanish AdventureMy Profile

  7. The other day I was on Twitter or Facebook (surprise, surprise…) and somebody had posted “NO8DO” and I knew they were talking about Sevilla, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember how “no me ha dejado” fit into the no, 8, and do. Thanks for clearing this all up! It really is a beautiful little motto. Can’t wait to experience all this when I visit the city in April!!!
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..When “Lion” Doesn’t Mean Lion: 2 Spanish City HomonymsMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      That’s awesome! It really is a special part of local lore. When are you planning on heading here? We could tey and meet for a cafelito or cervecita.

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  1. […] little while ago, Cat from Sunshine and Siestas posted this close-up shot of a hidden secret on Sevilla’s street lamps. I loved it, and got inspired to […]

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