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Massachusetts State Symbols

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Whoa, Massachusetts, a tiny state that has more state symbols than almost any other state! Why does such a tiny state have so many state symbols? And why does such a liberal state have so many official state war memorials? (Continued below)

Massachusetts State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames Bay State, Pilgrim State, Baked Bean State  
Citizenry Bay Staters 1990
Symbols of State
Motto Ense Petit Placidam Sub Libertate Quietem
Song All Hail to Massachusetts 1981
EcoSymbols
Flower Mayflower (Epigaea repens) 1918
Tree American elm (Ulmus americana) 1941
Berry cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) 1994
Bean baked navy bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) 1993
Bird black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 1941
Game Bird turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) 1991
Groundhog Ms. G (Marmota monax) 2014
Marine Mammal right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) 1980
Horse Morgan Horse (Equus caballus) 1970
Dog Boston Terrier (Canis lupus familiaris) 1979
Cat Tabby Cat (Felis catus) 1988
Reptile common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) 2007
Fish cod (Gadus morhua) 1974
Insect ladybug (Coccinellidae) 1974
Shell New England Neptune (Neptunea lyrata) 1987
Mineral babingtonite 1971
Gem rhodonite 1979
Rock Roxbury puddingstone 1983
State Building Rock and Monument Stone granite 1983
Glacial Rock Rolling Rock 2009
Fossil † Dinosaur tracks (Eubrontes giganteus) 1980
Dinosaur † Podokesaurus holyokensis 2023
Soil Paxton 1991
Cultural Symbols
Colors blue, green and cranberry 2004
Historical Rock Plymouth Rock 1983
Explorer Rock Dighton Rock 1983
Dessert Boston cream pie 1996
Donut Boston creme donut 2003
Cookie chocolate chip cookie 1997
Muffin corn muffin 1986
Beverage cranberry juice 1970
Heroine Deborah Sampson 1983
Folk Hero Johnny Appleseed 1996
Inventor Ben Franklin 2006
Sport basketball 2006
Recreational and Team Sport volleyball 2014
Vessel Ernestina 1994
Tartan 2002
Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1990
Folk Song Massachusetts 1981
Patriotic Song Massachusetts (Because of You Our Land is Free) 1989
Glee Club Song The Great State of Massachusetts 1997
Ode Ode to the Commonwealth 2000
Polka Song Say Hello to Someone in Massachusetts 1998
Ceremonial March The Road to Boston 1985
Poem Blue Hills of Massachusetts 1981
Children’s Book Make Way for Ducklings 2003
Children’s Author and Illustrator Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss 2003
Artist Norman Rockwell 2008
Blues Artist Taj Mahal 2006
Language English Redundant Symbol 1975
Peace Statue Orange Peace Statue
Veterans of Southeast Asia War Monument Worcester, Desert Calm Committee, Inc. 1993
Vietnam War Memorial Memorial in Worcester 1990
MIA/POW Memorial Massachusetts National Cemetery MIA/POW Memorial
Korean War Memorial Charlestown Navy Yard Korean War Memorial

Merely classifying Massachusetts’ symbols is a challenge. It has several state foods and far more official songs than any state needs. Many of its symbols, from the turkey to baked beans, commemorate Massachusetts’ colonial heritage. What could the state flower be but the Mayflower?

And what’s with all those rocks? Massachusetts has an official rock, glacial rock, historical rock, and explorer rock. For good measure, granite was designated the official building rock and monument stone.

Forgot everything you’re read about Confederate symbols. Massachusetts has the most blatantly racist flag in the nation. Fortunately, citizens are working to adopt new emblems. Though it’s a slow, tedious process, it looks like the Bay State could have a new flag by 2024 or 2025.

In the meantime, which official rock is your favorite—Dighton Rock, Rolling Rock, or Plymouth Rock?

* * * * *

If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.

You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)

After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.

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