The history of homecoming: Old Traditions, modern take


Aisha Rashid

Students fill the stadium for a football game. At Monroe Stadium, the football team will play their homecoming game against Vista Ridge on Oct. 28.

Katherine Dale, Editor

Students pour out of the full parking lot and into the packed courtyard. Girls struggle to walk in hand-me-down high heels and loud music courses through their veins. The chaperones stand awkwardly in the corner trying to not take up space, there is a ruby punch bowl sitting vacant in a lone corner. This may be what comes to mind when one hears the word homecoming. In modern times, homecoming is represented by a festive football game, a sparkling semi-formal dance, and a perky parade. However, in the rush of picking out the perfect outfit or trying to find the best way to ask out that special someone, does anyone really know how homecoming came to be? 

It’s a mystery as to who hosted the first homecoming, with many collegiate institutions such as Baylor University and the University of Missouri claiming to be the founding father of the concept. However, the school that takes the crown is the University of Illinois, whose 1910 football game, which was accompanied by a parade aimed at alumni, takes the title of first homecoming event. Homecoming was originally a plea to have alumni visit their alma mater and show their school pride, however now it’s transformed into a national and even global, phenomenon. 

The first homecoming games looked different from what  we now call homecoming. First, it was hosted on college campuses and featured an age-old-rivalry competing for the crown. There was no dance, no theme days, no homecoming king and queen, and certainly no hoco-proposals, just sport and a vibrant parade. 

Homecoming spread to high schools by the 1930s, where the event took on a form more similar to ours. During this decade, the homecoming court was becoming an element of the spirit episode. The homecoming queen was chosen based off of the composite and beauty of the float she was riding. The homecoming king was chosen to act alongside the queen, however he was not chosen by float, the homecoming king was chosen by vote based on a number of personal qualities. Similar to today’s method of voting for the homecoming nobility. 

In high schools, the homecoming football game happens in the fall, usually between late September and early November. Modern homecoming games aren’t determined by the school’s largest rivalry, rather your homecoming game opponent is chosen to be won by players, meaning that the visiting team is on the easier side. This is a ploy to keep morale high for the homecoming dance, which usually happens either the same night or the following night. The dance is an opportunity for students to dress up, go out, and have fun with their peers. 

Vandegrift is celebrating homecoming on Oct. 28 with a spirited football game against Vista Ridge. The game will take place at Monroe Stadium and students are encouraged to show their pride with mums, an intricate ribbon design associated with homecoming tradition, at the game. Subsequently, the school will be hosting a dance that takes place in the courtyard the following day. Whether you’re going with a group of your closest friends, your more-than-a-friend, or just by yourself, enjoy your time as a Viper. Before you know it, you’ll be coming back home.