Homecoming Thoughts (Day 16)

So we’ve come to that time of the year again. Homecoming. For schools across the country, this means a dance, maybe a special pep rally and football game. But not for Texans. For us, homecoming means one thing; mums and garters. Okay, maybe that’s two things, but still.

Homecoming is a time for alumnus of the high school to come back and spend time with their friends and enjoy a football game! It’s encouraged that people ‘come home’ from college to reunite with old friends who are either in a different college or in high school. I think the whole idea of welcoming them back as former students is pretty neat! Most people who return back to the high school don’t have mums and garters, as it’s a tradition celebrated mostly by the current students of the high school.

Now, a quick history of the mum and garter tradition before I get too much further. Traditionally, a boy would ask a girl to accompany him to the homecoming football game and dance, and would give her a flower, presumably a mum. Girls began to pin these flowers to themselves the day of homecoming, and soon guys wore them too.

But then, one day, the mums as we know them popped into existence. Somewhere, sometime, some girl decided it would be cute to dress up her mum with a ribbon or two. Little did she know she started a revolution. So of course, not to be outdone, the next year more girls came with ribbons on their mums, some even choosing fake flowers over real ones to better accommodate the ribbons. As the years went on, these mums grew, and quickly became the center of attention on homecoming. A guy asking a girl to homecoming now not only meant a date to the game and dance, but the exchanging of mum and garter. Yes, the mum has a male counterpart that is like a smaller, shorter version of a mum worn by boys on their arms, held up by a garter, like the one below! This is a garter I made for a boy sophomore year who had asked me to homecoming. I tried to personalize it for him since he was in band and played trumpet:

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So we come to homecoming mums and garters as we know them now. Huge fake flowers with dozens upon dozens of ribbons, strings, feather boas, lights, glitter, trinkets, bells, sequins, whistles, and anything else you could put on a mum. In fact, these mums worn by girls have become so large that they are no longer worn by simply being pinned to a shirt and worn to the side. No, these mums require neckstraps in order to be held up.

Within these new mums are certain unspoken rules as well. The size of the mum usually corresponds to a person’s grade. Freshman will receive singles, meaning only one large fake mum with ribbons. Sophomores will usually have two to three, juniors three to four and so on and so forth. Mums and garters are made with ribbons of school colors to show school spirit. The exception to this is seniors, who sport mums and garters with white and silver or gold. Below is my mum from junior year, with three mums (flowers) and my friend who was a freshman with only one.

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With all the increasing extravagance and importance placed on mums, it’s hard to agree with the principle itself. No, I don’t really like the fact that there’s so much pressure on girls to get asked to homecoming. So much pressure to not be one of the few girls walking down the hallways without a mum around her neck, feeling left out and unwanted. And of course there’s pressure for guys as well, who end up having to foot the bill for these mums. This year, I decided regardless of whether or not I got asked by a date (I didn’t) I was going to make my own mum with my friends. As is tradition, because this is my senior year my mum will be all white and silver, but with a dash of purple (my favorite color!) here and there to make it uniquely mine!

All right, so I felt like all that really needed to be explained before I showed my photo of the day, the prompt for which was black and white. I spent this evening making a garter with two of my friends, so that’s this :)

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Aaand the final product:

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As you can see, there’s lots of ribbons and sparkles involved, and the whole thing is lots of fun! So, if you’re not Texan, I hope you learned a little more about this high school tradition. And if you are, happy homecoming, and may all your mums and garters shine ;) Oh hey, and a quick extra pic of all the girls in colorguard last year looking fantastic in our mums! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; gotta love Texas :)

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