By Carly Harsha | Opinion EditorFor those who have always lived in Texas, mums are a way of life. It’s understood that around the beginning of September, the Homecoming buzz in school begins and tensions begin to rise. But have any of us ever considered asking why we do this?
If you ask a non-Texan what a “mum” is, chances are they will say it’s what most people from European countries call their mothers. But to Texans, mum season is an annual tradition that requires a lot of patience and even more money.
For nearly all states, Homecoming means one thing: football. Alumni are invited back to the college or high school to renew their school spirit and provide revenue for the school. The origins of these Homecoming games date back to the early 1900s, but the mum frenzy began much more recently.
Back in the ’70s, the Homecoming tradition was simple; a boy gave his date a chrysanthemum flower that she would wear pinned to her shirt. Then the girls began to wear ribbons on them, and then there were pins involved, and then there were more ribbons, and then cowbells, and then somehow we ended up where we are now.
What is considered normal nowadays is absolutely ridiculous. The mums that girls wear now include enormous centerpieces, furry stuffed animals, dozens of ribbons, school-related trinkets, cowbells, LED lights and more. Again we must ask, why?
Why are we perpetuating a tradition that has completely spun out of control? What used to be a charming addition to the Homecoming football game has ultimately engulfed all other Homecoming aspects.
No longer is it a sweet gesture for Homecoming dates to exchange. It has now become a competition for high school girls, and even some boys. Whose will be the heaviest? Whose will include the most lights? Whose is going to touch the floor? And to think, it all started with a genuine flower.
Money is another aspect to consider when it comes to mum shopping. A nice mum costs around $75. An elaborate mum might range from $90-$120. And the mums that are becoming more and more popular have been averaging $150 and up. Add this cost to the price of the dance ticket, attire, meal, etc., and Homecoming becomes an outrageous expense.
Will this frenzy ever stop? Is it going to take a girl spraining her neck from a 25-pound mum? Considering that this is the South, and traditions are longstanding, mums will probably never die out, and their sizes will continue to increase exponentially.
Perhaps this is a good illustration of the well-known saying: Everything’s bigger in Texas.