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São José dos Ausentes, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)

Last modified: 2020-08-08 by ian macdonald
Keywords: rio grande do sul | são josé dos ausentes | snowflake |
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São José dos Ausentes, RS (Brazil) image by Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020

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The municipality of São José dos Ausentes (3,290 inhabitants; 117,395 ha) is located 230 km north-east of Porto Alegre. The highest point of Rio Grande do Sul, Pico de Monte Negro (1,430 m) is located in the municipal territory.
Together with São Joaquim and Urupema (Santa Catarina), São José dos Ausentes is considered as Brazil's coldest municipality. Winter temperature usually falls below 0C and permanent snow covers is present every year.

São José dos Ausentes is named for the Vacancy Trial (Juizo de Ausentos), by which Captain Antônio da Costa Ribeiro acquired in 1764 lands registered in 1727 by the Society of Jesus but never settled. After the death of the captain without heirs, the place was once again declared "vacant" and acquired in 1787 by Father Bernardo Lopes de Silva, lieutenant José Pereira da Silva and Manoel José Leão; it was transferred in 1789 to Antônio Manoel Velho, who named it Fazenda Santo Antônio dos Ausnetes. A more popular explanation of the odd place's name refers to the harsh winter that often forced people to leave the place. Yet another version refers to the assassination of two owners of the domains, who were therefore declared "absentees".

The district of Ausentes was established within the municipality of Aparados da Serra (today, Bom Jesus) by Municipal Act No. 9 issued on 5 June 1948. The municipality of São José dos Ausentes was established by State Law No. 9,559 promulgated on 20 March 1992.
Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020


A red-white-red vertical triband, ratio 1-2-1, bearing the municipal arms in the centre.

Official website at
Dirk Schönberger, 2 April 2012

The flag of São José dos Ausentes is prescribed by Municipal Law No. 76 promulgated on 29 December 1993.

Article 1.
The flag of the municipality of São José dos Ausentes has for official colors red and white, arranged in vertical stripes, representing:
a) (Venetian) red is a symbol of dedication, patriotic love, audacity and courage.
b) White is a symbol of integration, message of peace and community's harmony.
§1. Red shall be used in the inner and outer stripes, white in the flag's center.
§2. In the center of the flag's white stripe shall be placed the coat of arms of the municipality.

Article 2.
The flag's features shall obey the following rules.
I. The flag's width is 14 units.
II. The length of each red vertical stripes at the ends shall be 5 units and that of the central white stripe 10 units.
III. The flag's length is 20 units.
IV. The coat of arms is of 7 unit in width, leaving 3 units in the upper and lower parts.
Municipal website

The coat of arms of São José dos Ausentes is prescribed by Municipal Law No. 75 promulgated on 29 December 1993.

Article 1.
A classic French shield surmounted by a six-towered crown or. In the center the image of the mountain's flanks on a field vert (green). In base also vert, green symbolizing the fields, which are the supports of economy and land use. In chief's center on a field azure (blue) the international symbol of snow. Dexter on a field argent a slash pine and sinister a Brazilian pine, the two snow-covered. The shield supported dexter and sinister by a scroll gules (red) inscribed sable (black) the toponym "São José dos Ausentes" and the motto "O ponto mais alto e frio do Rio Grande do Sul" [Rio Grande do Sul's highest and coldest point].

The coat of arms has the following symbolic interpretation.
a) The classical French shield used to represent the arms of São José dos Ausentes, originates from France and was spread all over Europe. It is used, namely, to represent domain's arms and was also adopted by Brazilian heraldry, as the evocation of one of the colonizing races.
b) The mural crown surmounting the shield is the universal symbol of domain's arms. With six towers or, four visible in perspective, it indicates a 3rd rank town or municipality's seat.
c) Argent (silver) is a symbol of peace, friendship, work, empowerment, prosperity, purity, religious feeling and abundance of snow falling in winter time.
d) The field vert (green) represents the fields and flanks of the mountains of Rio Grande do Sul's north-east, at the origin of the place's name. St. Joseph, patron saint of the early colonists, and "Ausentes", meaning "vacant land". Above, the international symbol of snow indicates a municipality in the part of Rio Grande do Sul where snow falls.
e) Vert (green) is a symbol of honor, civility, courtesy, glee and abundance. This is also the symbolic color of hope, as greening fields in spring increase pastures, feed cattle and provide income to the inhabitants.
f) Azure (blue) is a symbol of loyalty, royalty, sky and community's harmony in search of humanitarian objectives.
g) The outer ornaments represents the main crop offered by the generous and fertile land, apples.
h) The scroll gules (red) features in letters sable (black), a symbol of honesty and prudence, the toponym "São José dos Ausentes" and the motto "O ponto mais alto e frio do Rio Grande do Sul".
Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020

The flag is also used with equal stripes.

São José dos Ausentes, RS (Brazil) image by Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020


Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020