It's a Texas Thing: History of The Texas Homecoming Mum

Updated: May 24

In 1992, my young husband and I spent a week in Ireland. It exceeded every expectation I had and the people were so friendly. Discussions always turned to where we were from, followed by comments about Dallas (the tv show), John F Kennedy and horses. Texas has a world wide reputation and we are a proud people, even of our stranger traditions, like The Texas Homecoming Mum

To understand the modern homecoming mum we have to go back to the origins, back to another Texas institution, college football games. College homecoming games originated in the early Twentieth Century (some say in Missouri) in honor of returning alumni and residents. The game was surrounded with parades, bonfires, dances and even royalty. Parades and dances naturally meant the incorporation of flowers. The chrysanthemum blooms in the Fall, making it perfect for colorful homecoming corsages. "Mum" corsages were given as gifts by young men to their homecoming dates.

In Texas, an enterprising florist decided to add long, school-color ribbons to the corsage and The Texas Mum was born. In looking at some Baylor University year books, I can see mums on some of the young ladies dating back to 1940.

High schools quickly adapted the traditional homecoming game from colleges along with the mum corsage. My mother graduated from Brazosport High School in 1966. She has told me that she doesn't remember homecoming mums being a thing, but I have a photo of her in 8th grade (so 1960-ish) wearing what sure looks like a mum to me!

My mother with her first homecoming mum.

Mary S, Alvin HS Class if 1986 , LOVE those pipe cleaner hearts!