The Start of a Tradition

By: Tess Parmenter

 

What were you doing in 1909? You probably weren’t born yet, but for some people it was the start of a tradition that would soon spread throughout the world. This tradition is known as Homecoming. Homecoming was started at a small college in Waco Texas, known as Baylor University. On stltoday.com, Chester Brewer stated they started the tradition as a way to, “urge alumni to come home for a football game against Kansas City.” Their Homecoming event included a football game, a gathering of alumni, a pep-rally, and a parade.

There are many other schools that claim to have started Homecoming, but the dates show Baylor as the first. For years, it was believed that the first Homecoming was at the University of Missouri Columbia, but this was soon changed. Baylor University did not have another Homecoming until 1914 and by then many other schools had caught on to the idea. In the following years, each school claimed to be the founder of Homecoming, which caused a huge confusion, until they discovered Baylor’s first Homecoming.

Homecomings have always included things like a Homecoming Court, spirit week, pep rallies, and the Homecoming dance. Schools continue these Homecoming traditions, but they often add their own unique themes to it. Some activities that used to be common included, Homecoming picnics, tailgates, and parades. Depending on where the Homecoming takes place, these events may or may not still be held in present day.

Fashion during the time of the first Homecoming has changed much compared to what it is now. Women’s dresses commonly contained big bows and large puffy shoulders. Their dresses were usually a solid plain color. Men’s fashion has not seen as much of a change, as they still wear bows or ties with a button-down shirt and a suit jacket. Men in the 1900s often wore large top hats and carried a cane, which is the biggest difference in fashion when the first Homecoming is compared to todays.

The tradition of Homecoming continues to grow and thrive, with more schools participating in the events of Homecoming. Homecoming is unique for each and every school that holds it thanks to the help from students and faculty. Without the help of Homecoming week and all the events that come with it, our school spirit would not be what it is today. The following picture was taken of Eisenhower’s 1979 Homecoming Court.

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