History of the Mum

The tradition of homecoming mums did not begin in the Lone Star State, but Texans made it better

The+cheer+team+sells+mums+and+garters+to+students+so+they+can+easily++design+what+they+want+for+their+date.+Wakeland+homecoming+is+Sept.+17%2C+2021.+Photo+by+Kate+Nosel.

The cheer team sells mums and garters to students so they can easily design what they want for their date. Wakeland homecoming is Sept. 17, 2021. Photo by Kate Nosel.

Maci Martin, Reporter

Everything is bigger in Texas – and that is obvious when it comes to homecoming mums. Once a Texas only tradition, it has permeated into the neighboring states of Oklahoma and Louisiana.

“The first known homecoming mums were worn in Missouri, which also hosted the first-ever homecoming football game in 1911,” according to texashighways.com. Originally, the chrysanthemum flower was given as a corsage for the homecoming events, and it began to grow into the mums we know now in the 1970s.

Even though the mums and garters did not originate in Texas, the homecoming tradition here is a “go big or go home” attitude. From single to triple flowers, lights, bells, teddy bears, and loads of ribbons, each mum is made to describe the wearer’s personality. And, seniors at Wakeland, stand out in the crowd with white and silver mums.

“I think the white mums and garters are a way to honor and recognize the seniors and set them apart from the rest of the school,” senior Lillian Huffman said.

Traditionally, mums are worn at school on game day and that evening to the football game. 

“I am an extra person, so I like when they are big and show everyone’s different style,” sophomore Ava Hepler said.

However, no matter how big, beautiful, and decorated the mums are, they can irritate others and make a mess.

“They are so loud and heavy, and often get in the way of a lot of things…like walking,” junior Rachel Dickerson said.

“Mums and garters are used to show that it is our homecoming game, probably one of the most important games of the year,” senior Nick Doros said. “It is a game they only get once so you can show out and support your school.” 

Another sign of homecoming…the trail of boa feathers around the school. But, part of the week is the joy in sharing the mums.

Junior Julia Esquenazi is contributing to the special education program and recycling old mums and creating new ones. Taylor Fenton, Wakeland alumni, started this tradition a couple of years ago and now that she is gone, Esquenazi is continuing this tradition. 

“I know that the special needs kids love it and are super excited [to receive and wear their mums],”  Esquenazi said.