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Delaware Cultural Symbols

Delaware has a handful of official cultural symbols. I’ll pass on the official beverage (milk), but I love peach pie and tall ships.

Cultural Symbols  
Colors Colonial blue and buff 1953
Dessert peach pie 2009
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1983
Sport bicycling 2014
Tall Ship Kalmar Nyckel 2016
Dance (former) Maypole dancing 2016
Delaware Cultural Symbols

Last and least is the official beverage, milk, one of the most redundant state symbols. More impressive is the state sport, bicycling. Still, one has to wonder if Delaware has some special association with bicycling.

The state colors, dessert, and tall ship are more unique and exciting to boot. Ironically, my favorite is no longer part of the roster.

Delaware State ShipThe first permanent European settlers in the Delaware Valley arrived from Sweden on the Kalmar Nyckel, which is now Delaware’s official tall ship.

Delaware’s state tree is the American holly. Its prickly leaves and red berries have long been used to make Christmas wreaths. Some people might even call it a Christian symbol.

However, the holly tradition was born in Europe hundreds or maybe even thousands of years ago. Europeans regarded holly as a sacred plant with magical powers. It has even been associated with witchcraft.

Some people have called holly a pagan symbol, a term often meant as an insult. But what does the word pagan mean?

The word pagan is commonly applied to people who are simply different, especially people with different religions. It’s somewhat similar to the word barbarian.

In 2016, Delaware adopted another pagan symbol, Maypole dancing. How refreshing to see a state adopt something other than the square dance!

A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected as part of a festival. People often dance around the pole, which may be decorated with flowers and streamers. Like holly, Maypole dancing originated in ancient Europe. It is especially associated with Germany.

Some Christian groups declared Maypole dancing evil or superstitious and banned it. However, the Maypole survives as a part of various European folk festivals.

Sadly, maypole dancing was adopted for a term of just one year, expiring on May 29, 2017.

Maypole dancing
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