Homecoming HistoryWe look into the history of Homecoming and some of the associated customs.
By: Alexandra O’Riely , Sibley Scribe
To many high school students, homecoming is a massive deal. The word implies a whole week chock full of dress up days, “royal” coronations, and even entertaining festivals. But the meaning of homecoming has been slightly blurred through the many years it has been celebrated, dating all the way back to its origin in the early 1900s. The original definition of the (generally) weeklong celebration affectionately called “homecoming,” is the welcoming back of past alumni, hence the “home” portion of homecoming. The main purpose of homecoming now is to welcome your school’s alumni home to their school in order to better unite them with the students who attend the school presently, to create a “stronger sense of school pride.” Several universities such as the University of Illinois, University of Missouri and Baylor University claim to have started the tradition, but the exact origin is disputed. Baylor University in Waco, Texas, though is supposed to have held the first actual homecoming football game in 1909.
The homecoming tradition eventually spread across the country and down to high schools. But in the South, and especially Texas, it’s celebrated a bit more extremely than we celebrate it here. Texas is one of the states that still considers homecoming to be one of the grandest events in the whole school year, and boy are they not afraid to show their sheer excitement. Their biggest method of physically showing their school spirit and homecoming excitement is by placing the biggest, most extravagantly obnoxious mum that they could put together on their clothing and wearing it around for all to see. This Texan tradition that accompanies homecoming in Texas dates back to the 1930s, when boys would ask girls to homecoming with a real chrysanthemum. It was sometimes a competition, and the mums (unique flowers also known as chrysanthemums) were real and a large indicator of social status. Here are a couple of images showing what homecoming mums look like in modern, and not so modern times!