NO8DO Sevilla – The Secret Meaning of No8Do in Seville

By Abi King | Spain

Sep 04

NO8DO, Sevilla. It's everywhere - but what does it mean? Here we uncover the fascinating story behind the motto and the promise of NO8DO Seville. 

NO8DO Seville

NO8DO Seville

The Meaning of NO8DO in Seville

NO8DO, NO8DO, NO8DO. Five symbols squeeze together, like children trying to fit into one photograph.

It’s written on unfurling flags and bullfighting programmes, embossed on drain covers and printed on parking fines.

The Feria entrance, a candy pink behemoth iced with light bulbs, revealed the same five merry marks, crushed together so hard that number 8 popped out at the top

NO8DO, the motto of Seville. What’s it all about?

No8DO - You find it everywhere in Seville

Learn more about Seville

I love the city of Seville and spent years living in this heartland of Andalusia. As well as learning about the meaning of NO8DO in Seville, check out the archives that cover the best things to do in Seville, the best tapas in Seville, where to stay in Seville and more.

Decoding No8Do: it starts with the '8'

The key to the puzzle lies in the central number eight, said to resemble a skein of yarn (and yes, I had to look up “skein” – it’s a loose coil of yarn or wool, the sort my grandmother used to buy for her knitting.)

The Spanish word for this is madeja, so the sentence becomes no madeja do.

This makes as much sense as standing in front of a charging bull, until you realise that it sounds like no me ha dejado. She has not abandoned me.

Recommended reading: Live like a local in Seville

No8Do: "she has not abandoned me"

It's easy to imagine NO8DO as the result of a passionate love affair. Seville is the city that inspired Carmen, after all. Yet, it’s more complicated than that: it's not romantic love but a family betrayal.

Back in the 13th century, King Alfonso X The Wise struggled to fend off an attack by his own son, Sancho. In a bitter battle for the throne, Seville stayed loyal and Alfonso rewarded the hottest city in Spain with a slogan to celebrate its fidelity.

Seven hundred years of loyalty: No8Do

Seven hundred years later, Seville still remembers. Every day, everywhere.

NO8DO. She has not abandoned me. From the tomb of Christopher Columbus to edicts from the city council, the electric lights at the Sevilla Feria to drain covers beneath orange blossom, it's there. 

No8Do. She has not abandoned me. History in plain sight, encoded for the world.

 NO8DO - Town Hall Notice

What next about Seville?

Now that you know the history of No8Do, why not learn more about Seville?

Beyond this introduction to the best things to do in Seville, explore more of her customs such as the annual Semana Santa procession. Or go on the "wrong side of the tracks" with these things to do in Triana.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.

  • Eli says:

    That’s crazy. Like an inside joke for the whole city. Not a joke, really, but a little secret. I like it. Especially how they incoded it into a five character symbol that looks like something completely different on the surface.

  • ciki says:

    wow, i hope on my hubby’s death bed he will say that of me! ;) (and i of him! – just change the gender)

  • Abi says:

    I like that description, Eli. An inside joke for the whole city – and for those who visited and loved it. See this update to see what I mean!

    ciki – ah!

  • Shannon OD says:

    That is just too neat that the whole city is in on this private (and yet not private) story, I imagine that is fosters a deeper sense of community for those in the know – too cool! :-)

    • Gayla~ says:

      I agree. Definitely a deeper sense of community and ‘unity’ for those that understood the meaning. Great ‘gift’ to the townfolk :-)

  • Abi says:

    I think it’s fair to say that the people of Seville are proud of their city – this is a nice way of showing it.

  • Connie Bowman says:

    I was just in Sevilla and was told by someone that lives there that it means, “God has not abandoned me.” “No me ha dejado Dios.”

    • Abi says:

      Interesting… That doesn’t seem to fit with the symbol for wool, though. Ah, unless that symbol is supposed to be infinity? Hm…

  • ¡Enhorabuena! Es una muy buena descripción del significado del lema de Sevilla. Es cierto, fue otorgado a la ciudad por el rey Alfonso X El Sabio. Este rey era famoso por su afición a los acertijos, de ahí que usase uno para agradecer la lealtad de la ciudad.

    Hay un libro bastante bueno sobre las leyendas de Sevilla: “Leyendas y tradiciones sevillanas” de José María de Mena, ahí se explica, entre otras, la historia del “no madeja do”.

    Gracias por compartir a mi ciudad con el mundo :)

  • sofie says:

    Interesting! I’d never heard of that sentence…

    • Abi says:

      You can’t miss it once you’re in Seville. It’s everywhere…

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