Officially Quirky: Aside from the Bible, Some State’s Official Symbols Will Surprise You

A bill recently filed in Louisiana would make the Bible that state’s official book. Not any Bible, mind you, but their oldest edition of the Holy Bible, published by Johannes Prevel in the early 1500s and housed in the Louisiana State Museum.

This got me wondering, do other states have the Bible as their official book? Do most states even have an official book?

According to the website State Symbols USA, only two others have a similar symbol. Alabama has as its official Bible a historic one purchased in 1853 that’s used for all gubernatorial swearing-in ceremonies. But that’s an official Bible, not the official book of the state. Massachusetts has an official children’s book, the popular 1941 picture book Make Way for Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey and set in Boston Public Garden’s lagoon. That’s it for official tomes. (I’m sure readers could have a field day coming up for their own picks.)

Official state symbols go back to 1893, when representative flowers from each U.S. state were selected for the Chicago World’s Fair. This later inspired states to select all manner of official symbols. Most states have official birds, mammals, trees, flowers, gemstones, and songs. Here’s a partial list of some of the other lesser-known official state symbols (some obvious, others much less so):

Alabama’s official outdoor musical: The Incident at Looney’s Tavern
Alaska state sport: Dog Mushing
Arizona’s official neckware: Bolo Tie
Arkansas’s official cooking vessel: Dutch Oven
California state dance: West Coast Swing
Georgia’s official state Possum: Pogo possum
Kentucky’s official instrument: Appalachian dulcimer
Louisiana state beverage: Milk (oh, come on!)
Maine state herb: Wintergreen
Maryland’s official exercise: Walking (the official state sport is jousting)
Mississippi state toy: Teddy Bear
Nebraska state soft drink: Kool Aid
New Mexico state aircraft: Hot air balloon
North Dakota state fruit: Chokecherries
Ohio state rock song: “Hang on, Sloopy”
South Carolina’s official dance: The Shag
Texas state molecule: Buckyball
Utah state bird: California Gull

What would you like to see added to your state’s official roster?