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Homecoming | Alumni

United States[ edit ] Homecoming is an annual tradition in the United States. People, towns, high schools, and colleges come together, usually in late September or early October, to welcome back alumni and former residents. It is built around a central event, such as a banquet and, most often, a game of American football , or, on occasion, basketball , ice hockey or soccer. When celebrated by schools, the activities vary widely. A dance commonly follows the game or the day following the game.

The game itself, whether it be football or another sport, will typically feature the home team playing a considerably weaker opponent. The game is supposed to be an "easy win" and thus weaker schools will sometimes play lower division schools. Origins[ edit ] The Kansas vs.

Missouri football game is one of several claimed to be the first college football homecoming game. The tradition of Homecoming has its origin in alumni football games held at colleges and universities since the 19th century.

It was the first annual homecoming centered on a parade and a football game. The intense rivalry originally took place at neutral sites, usually in Kansas City, Missouri , until a new conference regulation was announced that required intercollegiate football games to be played on collegiate campuses. To renew excitement in the rivalry, ensure adequate attendance at the new location, and celebrate the first meeting of the two teams on the Mizzou campus in Columbia, Missouri , Mizzou Athletic Director Chester Brewer invited all alumni to "come home" for the game in Along with the football game, the celebration included a parade and spirit rally with bonfire.

The event was a success, with nearly 10, alumni coming home to take part in the celebration and watch the Tigers and Jayhawks play to a 3—3 tie. The Missouri annual homecoming, with its parade and spirit rally centered on a large football game is the model that has gone on to take hold at colleges and high schools across the United States.

Former students raised funds, provided homes, prepared and served a barbecue supper, and decorated the town buildings. Members of the senior class waited tables.

The alumni football game played on Oct. The University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign claims to have first held a homecoming event in , celebrating the th anniversary in This event was held annually except for the season.

The Classic is one of the most highly acclaimed and attended high-school football games west of the Mississippi River and has taken place since The Homecoming Court is a representative group of students that, in a coeducational institution, consists of a King and Queen, and possibly Prince s and Princess es.

In a single-sex institution, the Homecoming Court will usually consist of only a King and a Prince for a male school or a Queen and a Princess for a female school , although some schools may choose to join with single-sex schools of the opposite sex to elect the Homecoming Court jointly. A young couple pinning the corsage on before homecoming. Recently, some high schools have chosen to add categories, such as Duke and Duchess, to extend the representation of students to include a category in which students with special needs are elected.

In high school, or year-old students in their final year are represented by a King or Queen; in college, students who are completing their final year of study, usually between 21 and 23 years old.

Local rules determine when the Homecoming Queen and King are crowned. Sometimes, the big announcement comes at a pep rally , school assembly, or public ceremony one or more days before the football game. Other schools crown their royalty at the Homecoming football game, a dance or other school event.

If they are absent for whatever reason, someone else—usually, another previous Queen or King, a popular teacher, or other designated person—will perform those duties. Usually, the Queen is crowned first, followed by the King. The crowning method also varies by school. Homecoming court members who are not crowned king or queen are often called escorts or royalty. Once the Homecoming Court candidates are announced, the entire student body votes for the Queen and King. The voting is often conducted by secret ballot , but other methods may also be used by certain schools.

Students often select the grand marshal based on a history of service and support to the school and community. Every class prepares a float which corresponds with the Homecoming theme or related theme of school spirit as assign by school administrators. In addition, the Homecoming Court takes part in the parade, often riding together in one or more convertibles as part of the parade.

Community civic organizations and businesses, area fire departments and alumni groups often participate as well. The parade is often part of a series of activities scheduled for that specific day, which can also include a pep rally, bonfire , snake dance , and other activities for students and alumni. Alumni gather from all around the world to return to their Alma Mater and reconnect with one another and take part in the festivities.

Students, alumni, businesses, and members of the community set up tents in parking lots, fields, and streets near the stadium to cook out, play games, socialize, binge drink, and even enjoy live music in many instances. These celebrations often last straight through the game for those who do not have tickets but still come to take part in the socializing and excitement of the homecoming atmosphere.

Most tents even include television or radio feeds of the game for those without tickets. Picnic[ edit ] Sometimes during the school week, a picnic can occur. Dress-up days[ edit ] Throughout the week, many schools particularly high schools engage in special dress-up days, sometimes called "Spirit Week", where students are allowed to wear clothing suitable to the theme e. Pep Rallies[ edit ] Many schools hold a rally during homecoming week, often one or more nights before the game.

Many colleges and high schools no longer hold bonfires because of accidents that have occurred surrounding these events in the past. Alumni Band[ edit ] The Alumni Band consists of former college and university band members who return for homecoming to perform with the current marching band usually made up from recent graduates to members who graduated years or decades before either during halftime as a full band or a featured section i.

Mums and Garters[ edit ] High schools in the south of the United States, especially in Texas, often have a tradition of the girls wearing "mums" and boys wearing "garters" to the Homecoming football game. Mums usually consist of artificial Chrysanthemum flowers originally real Chrysanthemums were used surrounded by decorated floor-length ribbon and little trinkets. The tradition is that the boys create a personalized mum in their school colors. Making white and silver for seniors only, for their date.

The size of the mums and garters tend to grow along with the grade the person that is receiving the mum is in. Around the s, mums were usually about a maximum of three Chrysanthemum flowers and a few ribbons and only worn by those on the Homecoming Court i.

Alumni | Homecoming

Depending on the school, mums can get quite competitive, expensive, and drastically bigger than they previously were intended to be. New items are also placed on mums than there previously were like LED lights, bubble containers, cow bells, feather boas, stuffed animals of all sizes, and even more. The detail, size, and price usually varies depending on the school, town, and couple.

The tradition is to make the mum and garter after the couple is asked to Homecoming and exchange the night of the Homecoming game and wear it throughout tailgating and the game.

Couples often take group pictures with their mums and garters the night of or before the night of the Homecoming Game to showcase them. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message The Homecoming Dance—usually the culminating event of the week for high schools —is a formal or informal event, either at the school or an off-campus location. The venue is decorated, and either a disc jockey or band is hired to play music. In many ways, it is a fall prom. Homecoming dances could be informal as well just like standard school dances.

At high schools, the homecoming dances are sometimes held in the high school gymnasium or outside in a large field. Home coming dance attire is less formal than prom. Women generally wear knee length dresses with their hair down, and men generally wear a tucked in dress shirt with pants.

At prom, women generally wear a more formal gown that goes to the ground with hair up, and men wear suits and tuxedos.

Since most colleges are too large to facilitate a campus-wide dance, these events are usually handled instead by student organizations such as fraternities, sororities, and residential colleges. Because football and alumni events are the focal points of collegiate homecoming, dances often take place during a different week when schedules are more permitting, or not at all. Competitions[ edit ] At the high school level, students generally compete by grade level in events such as the spirit days, parade floats, and powder puff football.

The competition at the collegiate level is mainly between Greek-letter organizations and, to a lesser degree, residence halls. At most larger schools, fraternities and sororities compete on parade floats, house decorations, skits, talent competitions, and even service events such as blood drives or food drives.

Sometimes on coronation night, some schools have games that they play between classes. Such events include the pyramid, the 3 legged race, the pop chug, and tug of war.

Smaller school homecomings[ edit ] While most schools schedule their Homecoming activities around football, smaller schools that do not field a football team may plan the annual event at another time of the year. In these instances, basketball, ice hockey or soccer serves as the "big game" for students and alumni.

Often in smaller towns with smaller populations, the parade is omitted. At schools without athletic programs, the centerpiece event is usually a banquet, where alumni are recognized. This format is also used for alumni events of high schools that have either closed or consolidated with other high schools; the high school classes continue to meet and celebrate their years at their now-defunct alma mater. Courtwarming[ edit ] In some parts of the country, high school basketball has gained a homecoming celebration of its own.

Often referred to as Winter Homecoming, Hoopcoming, Coronation, Snowcoming, "Colors Day," or Courtwarming the latter is especially prominent in parts of Missouri , it usually includes rallies, dress-up days, special dinners, king and queen coronations, and other winter-friendly activities typically associated with football homecoming. Canada[ edit ] Canadian homecoming weekends are often centred on a football game. In Newfoundland and Labrador , communities have a " Come Home Year " where people who have moved away from their town come back from across Canada.

In , there was a provincial "Come Home Year", where many people came back to visit their various communities. Homecomings largely only exist among high schools in eastern Canada, and are uncommon at that.

Upper Canada College also has a longstanding homecoming tradition, although the event is referred to as "A-Day" Association Day. Church homecomings[ edit ] The term "homecoming" can also refer to the special services conducted by some religious congregations, particularly by many smaller American Protestant churches, to celebrate church heritage and welcome back former members or pastors.

They are often held annually, but are sometimes held as one-time-only events, to celebrate the occasion.