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Culture of Texas

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Title: Culture of Texas  
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Subject: Texas literature, Crime in Texas, Baytown Tunnel, Brazos Valley, Midland, Texas metropolitan area
Collection: Texas Culture
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Culture of Texas

The "Lone Star" Belle, postcard, around 1908.

The culture of Texas can at face value be described as a melting pot of "Southern" (Dixie) and "Southwestern" culture, with pockets of ethnic group town and settlements in many locations. The large geographic nature of Texas has also played a role in its culture. An in depth analysis of Texas reveals it is a border region. It is a border between the Atlantic world and the United States. It is is a border between the western prairies and the Deep South. It is a border between Mexico, influenced by Spain and great civilizations of the Old World, and between a world to the north, influenced by Anglo culture. It is a place of island communities from from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Mexico, Africa, southern Anglo populations, and historic tribes of Native Americans. Its culture is a complex blending and separation of the cultures different people originally brought with them to Texas. Its African American community contributed to the blues through various artists, and it is the only place in world where its past musicians such as Adolf Hofner sang Western Swing Style music in Czech and German. Some parts of Texas are windy and dusty, others are still and humid. Some parts are prairies, others are forests of cedar, pine, or crooked live oak. Some parts are on the warm coast, others on the tops of cold mountains or hot brushy hills. Some parts are a desert, others receive more rain than Oregon. It is larger in size than most European nations. It isn't the western prairies, the Deep South, Northern Mexico, or the Mid-West. Its geography, climate, people, neighboring regions, and size make it far to diverse to be classified in any other way than one truly of its own -- A complex culture called "Texas".


  • Agriculture 1
    • Ranching and cowboy culture 1.1
    • Rodeo 1.2
    • State Fair 1.3
  • History 2
    • Folklore of Texas 2.1
  • State holidays 3
  • Fine arts 4
    • Architecture 4.1
    • Music 4.2
    • Literature 4.3
  • Sports 5
  • Media 6
  • Cuisine 7
  • Other 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10


Ranching and cowboy culture

Texas has a strong ranching tradition which has had significant influence on American cowboy culture, particularly in rodeo.


Rodeo is the official sport of Texas. The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world's largest known rodeo. It is held over 20 days from late February through early March. The event begins with trail rides that originate from several points throughout the state, all of which convene at Reliant Park for a barbecue cook-off. The rodeo includes typical rodeo events, as well as concert performances from major artists and carnival rides. The Fort Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo lasts three weeks in late January and early February. It has many traditional rodeos, but also a cowboy rodeo, and a Mexican rodeo in recent years that both have large fan bases.

State Fair

Big Tex, mascot of the State Fair of Texas since 1952

The big State Fair of Texas, one of the largest state fairs in the United States by attendance, is held in Dallas each year between late September through mid- to late October at Fair Park. Two noteworthy college football games, the Red River Rivalry between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the University of Texas Longhorns, and the State Fair Classic between the Grambling State University Tigers and the Prairie View A&M University Panthers are played at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park during the State Fair. The State Fair is known for its fried food, particularly the corn dogs. The State Fair is also home to the Texas Star, the tallest Ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere, and Big Tex, a 52-foot-tall (16 m) cowboy statue.

Other state fairs held in Texas include the North Texas State Fair in Denton, the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont, and the East Texas State Fair in Tyler.


The history of Texas, particularly of the old independent Republic of Texas, is intimately bound up with its present culture. Frontier Texas! is a museum of the American Old West in Abilene. The Texas Historical Commission is an agency dedicated to historic preservation within the state of Texas. The Texas State Historical Association publishes an encyclopedia on Texas history, geography, and culture called the Handbook of Texas.

Folklore of Texas

Texas has a considerable independent body of folklore, primarily in connection with its historical ranching and cowboy cultures, the American Old West, and the Texas War of Independence. The Texas Folklore Society is the second-oldest folklore organization continually functioning in the United States. Many well-known figures and stories in American folklore are associated with Texas:

State holidays

Texas has several recognized state holidays, including:

Fine arts



The Lone Star State helped popularize this musical style throughout the world and made the Texas cowboy an international icon that would forever be identified with country music. Although many people may think of country music when they think of the Lone Star State, Texas actually encompasses a wide variety of ethnic musical genres and regional styles.[1]

Texas has a vibrant live music scene in Austin boasting more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city, befitting the city's official slogan as The Live Music Capital of the World. Austin's music revolves around the many nightclubs on 6th Street and an annual film, music, and multimedia festival known as South by Southwest. The longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits, was videotaped at the University of Texas at Austin campus. Austin City Limits and Waterloo Records run the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park in Austin.

In Houston, the annual Free Press Summer Fest is a major draw as well as the entertainment lineups at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Notable music venues for Houston are Fitzgerald's, Warehouse Live, and Walter's among others. Many renowned musicians' origins are in Houston including Lyle Lovett, Beyoncé, Clint Black, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Kenny Rogers as well as groups including D.R.I., Helstar, La Mafia, the Geto Boys, and ZZ Top. The Houston Symphony and Houston Grand Opera are both attractions of the Houston Theater District.



Texas is well known for its love of football at all levels. Watching football is a dominant leisure activity across the state, and autumn weekends are filled with high school games on Friday nights, NCAA and other college games on Saturdays (Texas' 12 top-level or "FBS" schools are more than any other state), and the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans on Sundays. Texas high school football fans are famously passionate, and the various teams often become the obsessive pride of the towns they represent. This phenomenon was documented in the 1990 book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream and its popular film and television adaptations. School districts in Texas are sometimes criticized for the amount of money spent on their sports programs and facilities; for example, the Allen Independent School District spent $60 million to open Eagle Stadium in 2012, only to see it closed in 2014 due to serious structural problems.[2] However, this spending is often driven by local residents—the Allen stadium was built using funds from a publicly approved bond issue.[3]

Baseball is also very popular in Texas. In Major League Baseball, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros claim followers across roughly equal territories, as North Texas, West Texas, and Panhandle residents are largely Rangers fans, while Southeast Texas, Central Texas, and South Texas are predominantly inhabited by Astros fans. Minor league baseball is also well-attended, with two teams in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and four in the Double-A Texas League.

Other popular sports in Texas include golf (which can be played year-round because of the South's mild climate), basketball (the state's three NBA teams, the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Dallas Mavericks, have all won league titles), fishing, and auto racing, particularly at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Lacrosse, originally played by some of the indigenous tribes, is a visible sport and growing. Soccer is a popular participatory sport—especially among children—but as a spectator sport, it does not yet have a large following despite two Texan teams in Major League Soccer. Hockey has been a growing participatory sport in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since the Minnesota North Stars became the Dallas Stars in 1993. Minor league pro hockey has become quite popular in the last decade; Texas is home to eight of the Central Hockey League's seventeen teams. Texas is also home to the Houston Aeros and San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League and the Texas Wildcatters of the ECHL.

Rodeo is the official sport of Texas; see § Rodeo for more information.


Media devoted to Texas culture include Texas Monthly, a monthly magazine headquartered in Austin that takes as its premise the idea that Texas began as a distinctive place and remains so. It publishes articles on all things culturally Texan, with past pieces on such topics as Texas politicians, the Texas Rangers, Texas cuisine, and true crime incidents in Texas. In 2013, the magazine established a food writing position entirely devoted to barbecue.


Important aspects of Texas cuisine include Texas barbecue and the local fusion of Mexican, American, and Southwestern cuisines called Tex-Mex cuisine.


The Texas Folklife Festival is an annual event sponsored by the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute of Texan Cultures celebrating the many ethnicities represented in the population of the state of Texas. Thousands attend the three-day event each year, which features food, crafts, music and dances from ethnic groups that immigrated to Texas.

See also


  1. ^ Hartman, Gary. The History of Texas Music. N.p.: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. Print.
  2. ^
  3. ^
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