Mums: A Texas Tradition

Natalie Weber, Staff Reporter

As the Vandy HOCO season comes to a close and mums are being either discarded or hung up on the walls of a teenager’s room, a question still looms in the air. Why are mums a thing during homecoming season and when did this tradition originate? 


Mums first appeared at the University of Missouri at one of the first “homecoming-esque” football games in 1911, and are thought to have appeared in Texas at Baylor University in 1936 when they held the first homecoming celebration in the state. It was a little later in the decade when high school football homecoming celebrations were beginning to appear throughout Texas. Although the timeline from when mums started to appear is fuzzy, the tradition of them has stuck. 


During the 1950s, mums started to become extremely popular in Texas high schools and were archived in yearbooks and old photographs for future generations to view. Back in this time, “mums” or more commonly known as chrysanthemums were real flower corsages that were paired with some ribbon and pinned onto girls to show that they had a date for the football game and other festivities during the homecoming season. Garters, or smaller mums for boys, were also introduced to show that couples were together. The use of mums was due to the accessibility of the flowers in September and October, which are traditional homecoming months. 


It wasn’t until the 1970s that mums started to become more elaborate and people started to hang multiple ribbons, streamers, charms and more and wear them around the neck. Big changes happened in the 1990s when artificial mums were put into rotation and allowed for more things such as boas, cowbells and many other decorations to be put onto the mum. This made them standout pieces and allowed for the owner to keep them forever. Regions throughout Texas also began to have more common styles of mums, and even began to vary in design depending on the high school. All together, mums are extravagant and special pieces to be worn for homecoming. 


At Vandegrift specifically, the tradition of mums has been immersed into the student population. Students usually go to the “Mum Store” that the Legacies host, and can order a variety of different styles of mums or opt out and make their own mum at home. Mums include our school colors of black, white and silver with all white mums being exclusively for seniors. This year, mums were put onto students’ backpacks and some were worn around individual necks but there was a significant decline in mums compared to years past. Hopefully next year, more mums will be worn to continue this exciting tradition. 


Lastly, another tradition is teachers receiving mums from their “Secret Pals,” or parents that volunteer to give little gifts every month to a teacher they select as a way to say thank you. Most teachers are given personalised mums that feature things that they like such as their dog or a favorite subject. Their mums are usually hung up in their classrooms and are mementos to look at whenever they walk into their classroom. All in all, the Vandegrift spirit is held to a high standard whenever it comes to homecoming and is always a fun and festive time for the community.