SEE ABOVE // The breakdown of Fourcast Business Manager Ashlye Dullye’s mum from J. J. Pearce High School
As fluorescent lights illuminate the field, hundreds of fans cheer as the home team crosses the end zone. The band’s loud music and the cheerleaders’ synchronized backflips help celebrate the touchdown. Welcome to a typical Texas high school football game. Every week, masses of High Schoolers gather under the ‘Friday Night Lights’ to cheer on their school’s football team. One of the most important features of the Homecoming game is the mum.
The humble beginnings of the Homecoming mum date back to the early 1900s, when boys would present their date with a chrysanthemum flower to solidify their ‘ask.’ In the 1970s, the previously-used real chrysanthemum was traded for a massive silk flower adorned with ribbon, beads and streamers.
The tradition of the mum remains today and has tripled in size—and significance. Typically, the mum is gifted to the girl the night of the football game, allowing her to showcase it around her neck for the night. At some schools, the girls, in exchange, gift their date a ‘garter,’ a smaller mum for the boy to wear around his arm.
Since Hockaday is an all-girls school, girls are asked to homecoming dances all over Dallas. The mums come in all different styles and sizes, ranging from foot-long ribbons to floor-length tangles of embellishment. While some schools create identical mums for the boys to order for their dates, other schools encourage personalized mums that suit the pairs’ personalities and interests.
The custom of the Homecoming mum and its significance in Texas culture has been around for decades, and it will surely remain in years to come. After all, “everything is bigger in Texas!”
Story and photo by Shea Duffy