Symbols | World
Books | Store | Blog
About | Contact

Minnesota Cultural Symbols

Minnesota has five official cultural symbols, one of which is a personal favorite.

Cultural Symbols  
Sport ice hockey 2009
Muffin blueberry muffin 1998
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1984
Tartan Minnesota Tartan 2002
Photograph Grace 2002
Minnesota Cultural Symbols

Minnesota’s nicknames include Bread and Butter State, inspired by its fertile farmlands. The state muffin, the blueberry muffin, is a far better symbol than the official beverage, milk. The state that is most deserving of milk is neighboring Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland.

Few state sports are more exciting than Minnesota’s, ice hockey. The state’s most famous team is named the North Stars, recalling the nickname North Star State.

Minnesota also has an official tartan—but what does it look like? The state tartan isn’t displayed on government websites. The tartan in the image above is touted as the official Minnesotan tartan by Wikipedia. However, a tartan lacking red stripes is displayed by MNopedia, which is probably more accurate than Wikipedia.

Minnesota is the only state with an official photograph, “Grace.” It’s one of Minnesota’s most controversial symbols.

The photo depicts a man sitting at a table praying, with his head bowed. On the table is a bowl of soup, a small loaf of bread and a book—a bible?

“Grace” is clearly religious in nature, violating the traditional separation of church and state. Supporters counter that it merely portrays a typical scene in the Midwest during the early 20th century.

Ironically, the photo isn’t genuine. It was taken in Bovey, Minnesota in 1918 by a Swedish immigrant named Eric Enstrom. Enstrom simply found an itinerant salesman and asked him to pretend like he was praying.

“Grace” is Minnesota’s tackiest symbol, with milk in a distant second place. I learned how to play hockey when I lived in Newfoundland, Canada. That’s one reason it ranks as one of my favorite state sports.

Below is my vision of a Minnesota tartan. Blue and yellow represent the North Star, while white recalls the origin of the name Minnesota. Light brown stripes represent wild rice, with thin black stripes, together with white, recalling the state bird. Green and blue further represent vegetation and Minnesota’s abundant waters.

Minnesota GeoTartan
Minnesota HomeState Cultural Symbols Home