Homecoming mums true southern tradition

   By Andrea Ward

   Halls filled with red, white, and blue burst out with bells that jingle as if it’s Christmas. Ribbons rustle around, interrupting the lecture silence of the classrooms. The student’s excitement pumps on as the Friday night football game rears in closer. Homecoming… it’s a time valued with more importance than Christmas in many southern student’s hearts. There comes a time where tradition feeds excitement and excitement feeds tradition. That time is homecoming.

   Leander High School, with its deep roots in central Texas, holds on to the fond southern tradition of homecoming mums and garters. It seems to be a growing fad in high schools across Texas and Oklahoma borders. However, the mum and garter custom is vague and unfamiliar to the teens of the north. Even southern states like Alabama and Mississippi don’t necessarily find the practice alluring. 

   When asked about the familiarity of a homecoming mum, Alabama native Janel White replied, “What is a homecoming mum?”  Puzzled southerners may ask “how in the world does she not know what a homecoming mum is?”

   The tradition started in the south and still has not spread very far from its original home to this day, but in its defense, it is still a somewhat young tradition. Being a fairly new ritual, colleges picked up on this fun, new, way to celebrate homecoming. Baylor University in Waco, Texas holds homecoming history dating back to 1909. This includes their annual homecoming parade and football game. As high schools in Texas caught on to this idea more traditions emerged. The homecoming mum became popular shortly after, and within years the garter took precedence among the male society.

   Evidently, this is how Leander High School has created its traditions of homecoming. Mums float through the hallways while garters are stretched around men’s arms as a fashion statement of the week. As teenagers, we may under estimate this tradition to being just another high school quality. However, in close to four years this may be gone if one is planning to leave the state for college. Take pride in the Lion tradition of homecoming mums and garters. It’s truly a southern gift.