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21 Examples of Cultural Symbols

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A cultural symbol is an entity that represents a culture. The following are illustrative examples.

Marks

A mark or character used to represent a culture such as the Christian cross.

Graphic Design

A graphic design such as a national flag, seal, crest or logo.

Colors

Colors associated with a culture. For example, the color black is symbolic of several music subcultures including metal, punk and goth.

Music

Songs, anthems, instruments or musical traditions. For example, Highland Bagpipes as a symbol of Scottish culture.

Language

Language such as a word, phrase, principle or slogan. For example, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase from the United States Declaration of Independence that may be considered symbolic of American culture.

Fashion

Fashion such as traditional kimono that are symbolic of Japanese culture.

Architecture

Architecture such as Big Ben as a symbol of British culture.

Food & Beverages

Food and beverages associated with a traditional or modern culture. For example, sake is symbolic of Japan.

Animals

It is common for nations to have a national animal such as the giant panda of China.

Mythical Creatures

Mythical creatures such as the unicorn as a symbol of Scottish culture.

Plants

Plants such as the maple tree as a symbol of Canada.

Products

Products such as wine as a symbol of France.

Documents

Documents such as the Constitution of the United States.

Individuals

Individuals such as Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol of India.

Personification

Some nations are represented by an allegoric figure who's considered a personification of the nation. For example, Marianne is a manifestation of the Goddess of Liberty who is symbolic of France.

Institutions

Institutions such as Cambridge and Oxford as symbols of British culture.

Holidays

Holidays are often important symbols of a nation or religion. For example, Independence Day in the United States.

Pastimes

Pastimes such as a sport or game that are representative of a local or national culture. For example, sumo as a symbol of Japanese culture or surfing as a symbol of Hawaiian culture.

Art

Artworks such as American Gothic as a symbol of the culture of the United States.

Traditions

Traditions such as the traditional performers of Japan known as Geiko and Geisha.

Places

Places such as Sunset Beach and nearby Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii as symbols of surfing subculture.

Other

Any tangible or intangible entity can be symbolic of a culture, super culture or subculture. For example:
Companies
Craft
Dances
Festivals
Historical Events
Inventions
Memorials
Myths
Performance Art
Relics
Rites of Passage
Stories
Technologies
Overview: Cultural Symbols
Type
Definition
An entity that represents a culture.
Also Known As
Cultural Icon
Related Concepts

Culture

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