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Texas Cultural Symbols

With more state symbols than any other state, it’s hardly surprising that Texas should also lead in official cultural symbols, with about 47, just ahead of Tennessee. A brief overview is offered on this page as well as symbols of the arts and political symbols. If you’re looking for additional information, you can check out my books.

Cultural Symbols  
Dish chili 1977
Bread pan de campo (cowboy bread) 2005
Traditional Pastries (former) sopaipilla and strudel 2003
Pie pecan pie 2013
Cobbler peach cobbler 2013
Snack tortilla chips and salsa 2003
Cooking Implement Dutch oven 2005
Hat cowboy hat 2015
Footwear cowboy boot 2007
Tie bolo tie 2007
Tartan Texas Bluebonnet 1989
Sport rodeo 1997
Rodeo Drill Team Ghostriders 2007
10K Race Event Texas Round-Up 10k 2005
Hero Carl Lewis 1985
Domino Game 42 2011
Vehicle chuckwagon 2005
Railroad Texas State Railroad 2003
Tall Ship Elissa 2005
Maritime Museum Texas Maritime Museum 1987
Aquarium Texas State Aquarium (Corpus Christi) 1985
Cotton Gin Museum Burton Cotton Gin & Museum, Burton 2009
Hashtag of the State of Texas #Texas 2015
Hashtag of the Texas Legislature #texleg 2015
Hashtag of Texas Tourism #TexasToDo 2015
Bison Herd Texas bison herd at Caprock State Park 2011
Longhorn Herd Foundation herd of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 1969
Butterfly Capital Capital Jasper 2015
Bluebonnet City Ennis 1997
Bluebonnet Festival The Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival 1997
Bluebonnet Trail Ennis (Festival) 1991
Gemstone Cut Lonestar Cut 1977
Flower Song Bluebonnets 1933
Music western swing 2011
Musical Instrument guitar 1997
Musician 2003
Tejano Music Hall of Fame Tejano Music Hall of Fame Museum, Alice 2001
Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1991
Plays The Lone Star, Texas, Beyond Sundown and Fandangle 1979
Epic Poem The Legend of Old Stone Ranch 1969
Caricature Artist Kid Cardona 1997
Artist (Two-Dimensional) 2003
Artist (Three-Dimensional) 2003
Ship U.S.S. Texas 1995
Air Force Confederate Air Force 1989
Flag Pledge 1933
Handgun Colt Walker 2021
Texas Cultural Symbols

Texas is the only state with official hashtags (three of them). It is also the only state with an official domino game, 42. If hashtags and dominoes sound boring, don’t despair. Most of Texas’ cultural symbols (other than symbols of the arts and political symbols) revolve around clothing, food, or cowboys, with a lot of overlap.

There are additional cowboy symbols, including the state sport (rodeo) and rodeo drill team (Ghostriders). Jim Hogg County is Texas’ official vaquero capital. (Vaquero is the Spanish word for “cowboy.”) The longhorn, quarter horse, and blue lacy are discussed under mammals. Other cowboy symbols are discussed under symbols of the arts and political symbols.

Clothing ˆ


How can a person be a cowboy without a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, the official hat and footwear? Southwestern cowboys also often wear bolo ties, an official symbol of Texas and neighboring New Mexico.

Have you ever heard the expression “all hat and no cattle”? That basically describes people who are phony. A good example is politicians who pretend to be cowboys, like former pResidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Both liked to wear cowboy hats, but they weren’t real cowboys.

Reagan was an actor who became governor of California. George W. Bush served as governor of Texas and owns a ranch in Texas. However, he was born in Connecticut. Moreover, there’s little evidence that Bush knows how to ride a horse.

Some people joked that Bush can’t even ride a bicycle. The jackass made the news when he fell off his mountain bike in Texas, a state with few mountains. That’s a classic example of all hat and no cattle.

If Bush was cocky enough to wear a cowboy hat, would he have the courage to wear a kilt? In fact, Texas has an official tartan. It is called the Texas Bluebonnet.

My vision of a Texas tartan is pictured on the left on the picture above.

I started with the colors red, white and blue from Texas’ Lone Star flag. Then I hitched my wagon to Texas’ Western image in adding light yellow and brown. Blue and white represent the Gulf of Mexico and sandy beaches.

Blue also represents the state flower, dog and gem—the bluebonnet, Blue Lacy, and Texas blue topaz. White also represents the official precious metal, silver.

Food ˆ

Texas State FoodTop: pecan pie and peach cobbler; Center: Chili peppers; Bottom: chili cooking in a Dutch oven, tortilla chips and salsa, and pan de campo.

You don’t have to be a cowboy to appreciate chili. However, the dish is commonly associated with cowboys, especially when cooked in a Dutch oven (Texas’ official cooking implement) and served from a chuckwagon (the official vehicle). Nevertheless, chili was created largely by Hispanic women.

Texas’ official bread is pan de campo, or “cowboy bread.” However, it was most closely associated with vaqueros. White cowboys were more likely to eat sourdough bread.

Alamo ˆ

You really can’t talk about Texas symbols without mentioning the Alamo, which is Texas’ version of Mt. Rushmore. Like Mt. Rushmore, it isn’t an official state symbol. In fact, there’s really no need to adopt it, because everyone knows it’s a symbol of Texas.

There’s even a picture of the Alamo on the reverse of Texas’ state seal. Above it is the famous slogan “Remember the Alamo.”

However, not everyone thinks the Alamo is that special. Do you know what the people who died defending the Alamo were fighting for?

They were basically stealing land from Mexico. On top of that, some of the people who defended the Alamo were slave owners.

If you want to hear both sides of the story, visit Mexico and ask some Mexican citizens what they think about the Alamo.

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