State Tartan

On March 6, 2008, the Legislature adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 29, declaring the West Virginia shawl as the official State Tartan. These woolen plaid cloths were originally worn to differentiate between Scottish clans and families. Many Americans can claim Celtic roots and, as a result, more than 20 other states have adopted official State Tartans.

According to the resolution, the majority of West Virginia’s earliest settlers were of Celtic descent. The pattern for the West Virginia shawl is based on a previously undiscovered shawl found at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Barboursville. The official State Tartan is based on this design and contains the following colors, each representing a different aspect of the state:


  • scarlet, for the state bird (cardinal)
  • yellow, for fall colors
  • blue, for rivers and lakes
  • black, for the official state animal (black bear), and also for the state’s oil and coal resources
  • green, for the state flower (rhododendron), and also the state’s meadows
  • azure, for the sky
  • white, to include all the colors of the United States flag