New Jersey Symbols: History And Significance

New Jersey is a state rich in history and culture, and its symbols are a reflection of that. From the state bird to the state flower, each symbol holds a significant meaning to the people of New Jersey. Understanding the history and significance of these symbols is important in appreciating the state’s identity. In this article, we’ll explore the various state symbols of New Jersey and their importance.

The New Jersey State Flag

New Jersey’s state flag was officially adopted in 1896, but its design had been in use as early as 1779 during the American Revolutionary War. The flag features a buff-colored background, which is the color of the uniform worn by New Jersey soldiers during the Revolutionary War. In the center of the flag is the state seal with three plows, representing the state’s agricultural heritage, and a horse’s head symbolizing the state’s diverse and thriving horse industry.

Significance of the flag’s colors and symbols

The flag’s colors and symbols hold significant meaning to the state of New Jersey. The buff-colored background represents the uniforms worn by New Jersey soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The state seal in the center of the flag features a shield with three plows, which represent the state’s agricultural heritage and its nickname, the “Garden State.” The horse’s head symbolizes New Jersey’s thriving horse industry, which is home to some of the best racehorses in the world.

Fun facts about the state flag

– The New Jersey state flag is the only state flag to have a different design on each side.
– The state seal in the center of the flag was designed by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere in 1777.
– The horse’s head on the state seal is a reference to the famous racehorse, “Old Tige,” who was bred in New Jersey in the 19th century.
– The New Jersey state flag was originally designed to be a “national flag” for the state’s militia, but it was later adopted as the state flag.
– The buff-colored background of the flag is the same color as George Washington’s uniform during the Revolutionary War.

The New Jersey State Seal

The New Jersey State Seal was adopted on March 15, 1777, and has undergone minor changes since then. The seal features a coat of arms that is supported by two female figures representing liberty and agriculture. Above the coat of arms is a horse’s head and helmet, and below it is a banner with the state’s motto, “Liberty and Prosperity.”

The imagery on the New Jersey State Seal is filled with symbolism. The blue shield with three plows represents the state’s agricultural tradition, while the red background represents the valor and hardiness of the state’s citizens. The horse’s head and helmet symbolize the state’s status as a leader in the Revolutionary War. The two women supporting the coat of arms represent the state’s belief in liberty and the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy. The gold helmet above the shield represents the state’s sovereignty, and the streamer below the shield bears the state’s motto.

The New Jersey State Seal has historical significance as it was used during the Revolutionary War and was adopted during a critical time in the state’s history. The state seal has been used on official documents, flags, and other state materials since its adoption in 1777. The symbolism behind the imagery on the seal reflects the values and beliefs that the state holds dear, and it serves as a reminder of the state’s rich history and proud heritage.

The New Jersey State Bird

New Jersey’s state bird is the Eastern Goldfinch or American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis). This bird is easily recognizable with its bright yellow body, black wings, and white bars on its wings and tail. The male goldfinch is more vibrant in color during the breeding season, while the female remains duller throughout the year.

The Eastern Goldfinch was officially declared the state bird of New Jersey in 1935. One of the reasons for the selection was the bird’s abundance throughout the state, making it a common sight for residents. Additionally, its bright and cheerful appearance represents the state’s motto, “Liberty and Prosperity,” which symbolizes freedom, happiness, and good luck.

Fun Facts about the Eastern Goldfinch

  • The Eastern Goldfinch is the state bird of Iowa and Washington as well.
  • They are known for their acrobatic abilities and can often be seen hanging upside down while feeding on thistle plants.
  • Unlike other birds, the Eastern Goldfinch waits until mid-summer to breed. This is because they prefer to nest on thistle plants, which are not in full bloom until later in the season.
  • Goldfinches are one of the few birds that molt twice a year. They shed their feathers in the fall and spring to adapt to changing weather conditions.
  • Their diet mainly consists of seeds, but they occasionally feed on insects and berries as well.

These little birds are a joy to watch and listen to with their sweet song and playful behavior. If you’re ever in New Jersey during the summer, keep an eye out for these bright yellow beauties!

The New Jersey State Flower: Violet

Description and Characteristics of the State Flower

The state flower of New Jersey is the Violet, a beautiful and delicate flower that can be found throughout the state. Violets are small, short-stemmed flowers that come in a variety of colors, including blue, purple, yellow, and white. They have heart-shaped leaves and can be found in both woodlands and meadows. Violets are also known for their sweet fragrance, making them a popular choice for gardens and bouquets.

Historical Reasons for Choosing the State Flower

New Jersey adopted the Violet as its state flower in 1971. The decision to choose the Violet was made after a group of schoolchildren conducted research on the state’s native flowers and presented their findings to the state legislature. The children argued that the Violet was a fitting choice because it is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring and can be found throughout the state. The legislature agreed and passed a bill making the Violet the official state flower.

Significance of the Flower’s Symbolism

The Violet has symbolic meaning beyond its beauty and fragrance. It is commonly associated with love, loyalty, and devotion, making it a popular choice for weddings and other romantic occasions. The flower has also been used in literature and art to represent humility and modesty. In some cultures, the Violet is believed to have medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments. Overall, the Violet is a fitting choice for New Jersey’s state flower, as it represents the state’s natural beauty, history, and culture.

The New Jersey State Tree: Red Oak

New Jersey’s state tree is the Red Oak, known for its strength, durability, and longevity. The Red Oak is a tall, deciduous tree with a broad and rounded canopy that spreads out to provide ample shade in the summer months. Its bark is dark gray and deeply furrowed, and its leaves are dark green and pointed with a distinctive lobed shape. The tree produces acorns that provide nourishment for wildlife and can be used to make flour or feed for livestock.

The Red Oak was chosen as the state tree of New Jersey in 1950. The decision was made in recognition of its importance to the state’s economy, history, and culture. The tree was widely used by early settlers for building homes, furniture, and ships. Red Oak is also a popular choice for landscaping and provides a beautiful backdrop for the state’s parks and forests.

The symbolism of the Red Oak is significant to New Jerseyans. The tree represents strength, resilience, and endurance, qualities that reflect the state’s history and character. The tree’s deep roots and sturdy trunk symbolize the state’s commitment to its values, while its branches reaching out to the sky represent the state’s aspirations for the future. As a beloved and iconic part of New Jersey’s landscape, the Red Oak is a symbol of the state’s natural beauty and proud heritage.

The New Jersey State Animal: The Horse

Description and Characteristics of the State Animal

The state animal of New Jersey is the horse. Horses are known for their beauty, gracefulness, and strength. They are herbivorous animals and can be found in a variety of colors, including black, brown, white, and chestnut. Horses have long, flowing manes and tails, pointed ears, and large, expressive eyes. They also have powerful legs that allow them to gallop at high speeds.

The horse is not just a domesticated animal but a symbol of freedom, power, and beauty. They have been an essential part of human civilization for thousands of years.

Historical Reasons for Choosing the State Animal

The horse was chosen as the state animal of New Jersey in 1977. The decision was made to honor the important role horses have played in the history of the state. Horses have been used for transportation, agriculture, and warfare, and they have played a significant role in the development of New Jersey’s economy and culture.

During the American Revolution, horses were vital for transportation and communication. They carried messages, supplies, and troops across the state. In fact, the famous ride of Paul Revere was made possible because of his trusty horse. After the war, horses continued to play a significant role in New Jersey’s economy, as they were used to pull plows and wagons and transport goods across the state.

Importance of the Animal to New Jersey’s History and Culture

The horse is an essential part of New Jersey’s history and culture. The state is home to many horse farms, and horse racing is a popular sport in the state. The famous Monmouth Park Racetrack has been hosting horse races since 1870 and has become a popular tourist attraction.

Moreover, the state animal represents the spirit of New Jersey. The horse symbolizes strength, freedom, and beauty, qualities that are essential to the character of New Jersey. It is a reminder of the state’s rich history and its bright future.

In conclusion, the horse is not just a state animal; it is a symbol of New Jersey’s heritage and culture. Its majestic beauty and strength remind us of the important role horses have played in the development of the state. The horse is a reminder of New Jersey’s past and a symbol of its future.

The New Jersey State Song: A Look into its History, Lyrics, and Fun Facts

History and lyrics of the state song

The official state song of New Jersey is “I’m From New Jersey” written by Red Mascara in 1960. The song is a declaration of pride for the state and its people. The lyrics highlight some of the iconic landmarks and characteristics of New Jersey, such as the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City.

The song begins, “I’m from New Jersey and I’m proud about it. I love the Garden State. I think it’s just the best, and that’s no bull.” The chorus goes, “I’m from New Jersey and you know I’m proud about it. I love the way they run their stores, I love the dirty water on the shores. I love the way they make their tomato pies. I’m from New Jersey and I’m proud about it.”

Significance of the song’s lyrics and meaning

The lyrics of the song capture the essence of what it means to be from New Jersey. The state has a unique culture that is celebrated through its food, beaches, and history. The song’s message is that being from New Jersey is something to be proud of and that the state has much to offer.

Fun facts about the state song

– “I’m From New Jersey” was adopted as the state song in 1972.
– Red Mascara, the songwriter, was a New Jersey native and a member of the New Jersey State Assembly.
– The song has been covered by many artists, including Bruce Springsteen and Connie Francis.
– In 2018, the New Jersey legislature proposed a bill to change the state song to “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen, but the bill did not pass.
– The song has become a popular anthem for New Jerseyans, often played at sporting events and other public gatherings.

Fun Fact: The line “I love the dirty water on the shores” refers to the Hudson River, which is known for its murky appearance due to pollution. Despite this, the river is an important part of New Jersey’s history and culture.


In conclusion, understanding the symbols of New Jersey is an important aspect of learning about the state’s rich history and culture. Each symbol holds a special meaning and tells a unique story about the people and places that make up the Garden State. From the state bird to the state insect, each symbol offers a glimpse into the diverse and vibrant landscape of New Jersey. By taking the time to learn about these symbols, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the state we call home. So, let’s continue to explore and celebrate the many wonders of New Jersey’s past, present, and future!

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