SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – “The aroma of green chile roasting in the fall.” Most people would qualify that scent as a New Mexico staple, but now state lawmakers are considering making it the state’s official smell.
Sponsored by Democratic Senator Bill Soules of Las Cruces, Senate Bill 188 seeks to adopt “the aroma of green chile roasting in the fall” as “the official aroma of New Mexico.” If approved, the aroma would join a list of more than 20 other state symbols, not to mention a handful of state songs, a ballad and a poem.
Sen. Soules presented the bill to the state’s Indian, Rural and Cultural Affairs Committee Tuesday alongside a handful of school kids. A fifth grade class from Monte Vista Elementary in Las Cruces spoke in support of the bill.
While green’s status as a potential “state aroma” might not seem like it’s ripe for contentious debate, at least one committee member offered alternative ideas at Tuesday’s meeting. One lawmaker suggested “the smell of oil and gas” or “dairy farms” to be considered, but students offered a counterargument about the “everywhere” presence of chile.
“No matter where you go in New Mexico, you’re going to be smelling green chile,” said an unnamed student during Tuesday’s committee hearing. “But in other states, other parts of the areas in New Mexico they don’t have the smell of cows and that stuff, roasting green chile is everywhere.
The bill cleared a committee vote by 5 to 0 Tuesday. If it gets all the way through the 2023 legislative session, the scent would be the 22nd official state symbol.
Here’s a slideshow of New Mexico’s various, officially recognized state symbols. Don’t miss the list below for a breakdown of the various state poems and songs, including state’s “official cowboy song”!
New Mexico’s state symbols, poems and songs:
- State flower: Yucca.
- State bird: Chaparral, commonly called the “roadrunner.”
- State tree: Nut pine or piñon tree.
- State fish: Cutthroat trout.
- State animal (mammal): The New Mexico black bear.
- State vegetables: Chile and frijoles, or pinto beans.
- State gem: Turquoise.
- State grass: Blue Grama grass, or “Bouteloua gracillis.”
- State fossil: Coelophysis.
- State cookie: Biscochito, or bizcochito.
- State insect: The tarantula hawk wasp, or “Pepsis formosa.”
- State question: “Red or Green?”
- State answer: “Red and green or Christmas.”
- State nickname: “The Land of Enchantment.”
- State butterfly: The Sandia hairstreak.
- State reptile: The New Mexico whiptail lizard, or “Cnemidophorus neomexicanus.”
- State amphibian: The New Mexico spadefoot toad.
- State aircraft: Hot air balloon.
- State historical railroad / train: The Cumbres and Toltec scenic railroad.
- State tie: The bolo tie.
- State necklace: The Native American squash blossom necklace.
- State capitol: The city of Santa Fe and the Roundhouse capitol building.
- State flag: Sometimes called “the Zia flag,” described as the red sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo, shown in a field of gold.
- State seal: A circle featuring an American Bald Eagle with outstretched wings shielding a smaller Mexican Eagle, symbolizing the change of sovereignty from Mexico to the United States in 1846. The phrase “Great Seal of the State of New Mexico *1912* is written on the edge of the circle.
- State motto: “It grows as it goes,” an English translation of the Latin phrase “Crescit Eundo.”
- State slogan (for business, commerce, industry): “Everybody is somebody in New Mexico.”
- State poem: “A Nuevo Mexico,” written by Luis Tafoya, in both English and Spanish.
- State folklorist: Claude Stephenson.
- State guitar: A guitar known as “the New Mexico sunrise.”
- State song – English: “O Fair New Mexico,” written by Elizabeth Garrett.
- State song – Spanish: “Asi Es Nuevo Mexico,” written by Amadeo Lucero.
- State ballad: “Land of Enchantment,” written by Michael Martin Murphey.
- State bilingual song: “Mi Lindo Nuevo Mexico,” written by Pablo Mares.
- State cowboy song: “Under the New Mexico Skies,” written by Syd Masters.