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Illinois Cultural Symbols

The square dance and English are two of the most redundant state symbols. Other than that, Illinois’ cultural symbols are surprisingly interesting.

Cultural Symbols  
Artifact pirogue 2016
Snack Food popcorn 2004
Pie pumpkin pie 2015
Exercise cycling 2017
Pet shelter dogs and cats 2017
Tartan Illinois Saint Andrew Society tartan 2012
Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1990
Theater The Great American People Show 1995
Language English Redundant Symbol 1969
(former) American 1923
Illinois Cultural Symbols

Well, cycling and shelter pets may not be that exciting, but whose pulse doesn’t quicken at the thought of pumpkin pie? Morton, Illinois calls itself the Pumpkin Capital of the World.

An even more interesting symbol is Illinois’ official state artifact, the pirogue. Pirogue is another name for canoe. Native Americans traveled in pirogues thousands of years ago.

Since Illinois calls corn its official grain and vegetable, it’s only fitting that popcorn was designated the official snack food.


Illinois is among the states with an official tartan. A field of blue and white represents Scotland’s flag. White also recalls Illinois’ state flag. Green represents Scotland, while red commemorates the colors of the United States’ national flag.

Some sources say it has a strand of gold as well.

You can see a better picture of Illinois’ tartan here. It looks like the design doesn’t include green or gold after all. Maybe we can just describe it as another mystery tartan.

Illinois tartansLeft: mystery tartan; Right: My vision of an Illinois tartan pays homage to prairie grasses and flowers.