MI.SS.I.SS.I.PP.I. I’m not sure if that's how you remember how to spell it, but it's how I learned!
"Mississippi" derives from an Ojibwe word meaning “great river.”
About 25% of all fish species in North America can be found in the Mississippi River. It takes 3 months for the water to flow from Lake Itasca down to the Gulf of Mexico, where the river releases more than 4 million gallons of water each second!
Twenty years ago, the first person to swim the entire Mississippi River completed the 2,414-mile task in 68 days!
The river borders the state to the west, squiggling around little towns there.
The teddy bear has its origins near one of these towns. In the early 1900s, Teddy Roosevelt went hunting with the state’s governor. They came across a bear tied to a tree; Roosevelt refused to shoot. This tale became so popular, someone made a stuffed animal out if it!
In addition to (now-free-to-prowl) bears, you might find armadillos, swamp rabbits, crawfish snakes, and mud turtles in MS.
While you're in the marshes, you might want a slice of mud pie. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have anything to do with turtle habitats!
Further inland, you'll find the state tree, the citrusy Southern magnolia, symbolic of perseverance and pride. They're one of the most beautiful trees out there, I'd say.
This symbolism fits in with another cultural landmark of the Mississippi delta: blues. The blues emerged after the Civil War, incorporating the work songs of formerly enslaved people, African spirituals, and Christian hymns.
It was a key inspiration for later genres like rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis Presley himself was from MS!
Today, Mississippians attend church more than the inhabitants of any other state.
But worship’s not the only thing drawing crowds. The International Ballet Competition is held in Jackson every 4 years. The other three cities in the world to host? Helsinki, Moscow, and Varna, Bulgaria.
In the 70s, a prima ballerina wanted further access to the arts in the South. She campaigned to get the UNESCO-approved competition stationed here. And it was! Just shows what determination, optimism, and a little ignoring-the-impossible can do 🙂 ...