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New Mexico Cultural Symbols

Holy sidewinder, New Mexico has nearly 20 official cultural symbols, quite a roster for a Western state. Overkill aside, they’re generally pretty cool symbols to boot, aside from its official flag salute.

Cultural Symbols  
Colors red and yellow of Old Spain 1925
Question Red or green? 1999
Answer Red or green or Christmas 2007
Aroma roasting green chile 2023
Tie bolo 2007
Necklace Native American squash blossom necklace 2011
Cookie biscochito 1989
Aircraft hot air balloon 2005
Balloon Museum Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum 1999
Historic Railroad Cumbres and Toltec scenic railroad 2005
State Folklorist
Ballad Land of Enchantment — New Mexico 1989
Spanish Language Song Asi es Nuevo Mexico 1971
Bilingual Song New Mexico — Mi Lindo Nuevo Mexico 1995
Cowboy Song “Under New Mexico Skies,” composed by Syd Masters 2009
Guitar New Mexico sunrise guitar 2009
Poem A Nuevo Mexico 1991
Flag Salute 1963
New Mexico Cultural Symbols

Right-wingers who hate multiculturalism won’t like New Mexico’s symbols, which borrow heavily from Spanish and Native American culture. The state’s official colors are the red and yellow of Old Spain, while the official necklace—worn by both men and women—is the Native American squash blossom necklace.

New Mexico has a total of five official songs, including a ballad, cowboy song, Spanish language song, and bilingual song. It also has an official poem, “A Nuevo Mexico.”

The good news: All those Spanish symbols probably make it hard to get English designated the official language. Neighboring Texas has also snubbed the English-only campaign.

If you get tired of singing official songs, you can have a biscochito, the official cookie. The biscochito is a small anise-flavored cookie that was brought to New Mexico by the early Spaniards. Today, it is commonly baked during special celebrations and holidays.

New Mexico was the first state to adopt an official cookie, by the way. (Two biscochito cookies are included in the picture below.)

For some reason, state clothing symbols seem to be limited to the Southwest. New Mexico shares its official tie, the bolo, with neighboring Arizona and Texas.

New Mexicans take transportation seriously. The Cumbres and Toltec scenic railroad was adopted as the official historic railroad.

Built in the 1880s, this historic railroad runs 64 miles between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. Along the way, it chugs through tunnels and over high narrow trestles with views of beautiful mountains and forests. The railroad is known as “America’s longest and highest narrow-gauge steam railroad.”

With their colorful and often flamboyant designs, hot air balloons could do double duty as symbols of the arts.

However, the star of the show is probably New Mexico’s official aircraft, the hot air balloon. Albuquerque, New Mexico is considered the balloon capital of the world. Hundreds of colorful balloons from around the world fill the skies in early October.

New Mexico State Aircraft

However, some would argue that the hot air balloon takes a back seat to New Mexico’s legendary chiles.

Official Artifact? ˆ

I’m not keen on the adoption of new state symbols when there are far too many already. Yet sometimes I can’t resist floating ideas for new designation.

In this spirit, I would like to nominate two unofficial New Mexico symbols. Brace yourself: They’re both weapons!

Since I’ve 1) showered contempt on official state firearms and military symbols and 2) preached against the evils of adopting too many symbols, my nomination might make me a double hypocrite. However, I think this is a provocative and educational idea. At the same time, I doubt that anyone will take it seriously, so what’s the harm in merely talking about it?

Several states have designated an official artifact, a designation recognizing objects made by native cultures long before the U.S. was born. Ohio has an official relic and an official prehistoric monument. In addition, its official gemstone, flint, was used to make arrowheads and spear points.

Few projectile points are more famous than the Clovis point. The Clovis point was to prehistoric New World cultures what cell phones are to today’s corporate culture. Scientists are still debating whether the Clovis point evolved in the New World; some think it was brought to the New World from Asia.

Eight Clovis points were found associated with the remains of a Columbian mammoth at the Naco Mammoth Kill Site in southeast Arizona.

The Clovis point was eventually replaced by another famous spear head that made its mark on (pre)history, the Folsom point.


The punch line: The Clovis and Folsom points are both named for sites in New Mexico.

In summary, an official artifact designation embracing both Clovis and Folsom points would be extremely educational and would rank as the oldest—and most important—state relic by far to boot.

Such a symbol would not promote America’s disgusting wars. It would not be in the same class as Utah’s handgun—designed for killing Filipinos—or Tennessee’s official sniper rifle. And if people still think spear points are evil, they can take satisfaction in the fact that the people who used Clovis and Folsom points vanished long ago.

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Don’t miss New Mexico’s symbols of the arts.

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