Homecomings – From History to Celebration

Posted on: August 30, 2009

What is Homecoming Event?

The tradition of welcoming back the former students, alumni and residents of an institution is known as Homecoming Event which usually takes place in the month of September/ October. Particularly celebrated in North America, the occasion is one of the most awaited celebration events in school, colleges and university life. It is the celebration when number of sports and cultural activities and social gatherings are held where students get an opportunity to show off their skills and styles as well as enjoy the lively moments of their early life.

Usually ‘American Football’ is the central sport in homecoming event but other sports like Ice Hockey, Basketball are also popular ones. Also a banquet is organized to make a social gathering at homecoming followed by coronation of ‘Homecoming King’ or ‘Homecoming Queen’ chosen from among the students by voting.

History and Origin

The tradition of homecoming is believed to be evolved from the annual alumni football games held at universities and colleges since late 1800. However origin of homecoming event is little controversial topic as different universities hold firm claims of being the founder of the event. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Missouri and Baylor University are the frontrunners in this race.

According to the history, Baylor University held their first homecoming event in 1909 but didn’t organize the same for next six years. Meanwhile in 1910 and 1911, University of Illinois and University of Missouri held their homecomings respectively. The event soon became popular and widely accepted by people and by 1920 it became the widely celebrated event across the nation.

Traditional Events

Homecoming Court: A representative group of students from a coeducational institution consisting of Homecoming Queen and Homecoming King (in some cases Homecoming Princess or Homecoming Prince) is known as homecoming court. Queen and King are selected by the election method where students of an institution vote for the court members nominated for the election of Homecoming Queen and Homecoming King. Other court members who are not selected as Queen or King are known as royalty or escorts. They participate in the weekly activities and events.

Homecoming Queen and Homecoming King:

A much awaited event of the ceremony is the coronation of Homecoming Queen and Homecoming King. Usually the selection is done by the method of voting by student body of an institution where they vote for a boy or girl who has given his/ her active contribution for the welfare of college or school and is excellent in studies and other cultural activities, sports, etc. It is a measure of ones popularity in schools and colleges. In some institutes the announcement of Queen and Kings names takes place a couple of days before football match or before banquet or at pep rally. For the coronation of elected Queen and King, former years King and Queen are invited to crown their successors. Usually Homecoming Queen is coroneted first followed by the coronation of the Homecoming King as a tradition in most of the universities.

For Homecoming Queen Girl, it is very important to have an appearance and a dress with something special than others and which makes her stand out of crowd and look like a Homecoming Queen. She wears Homecoming Gown and Homecoming Dresses tailored especially for this occasion. Girls make shopping for this sole reason even before the celebration begins and markets are filled with fresh stocks of Homecoming Gowns, Short Homecoming Dresses, Homecoming ball gowns, Beaded Homecoming Gowns, etc.


Parade is a part of many homecoming celebrations where students of an institution make a march on the streets of town or city with their marching band. A grand marshal is selected for the parade from among the students. Students participating in parade prepare a float usually based on a homecoming theme suggested by the administrators. Parades can be a part of scheduled activities for a particular day where other activities include pep rally, bone fire, snake dance, etc.


Tailgate parties are the most cheerfully celebrated events held at the weekend during homecoming celebrations. It is attended by the alumni who come back from different parts of country or world to participate in this festival where get together of old friends and classmates happens. The meaning can be understood by the name itself that the tailgates of vehicles are kept open and parties are enjoyed with beer, food, music and games. Students set up tents in parks, grounds and fields to stay and accommodate the friends coming from far distant places. People cook, play games, enjoy music and cherish the memories of their school times with their old friends.


Students may occasionally go for an outing or picnic which may occur at the school week or during the schools lunch period. It can be similar to tailgate party though people celebrate it with their own way.

Dress-up days

This is the most colorful thing that student long for. What could be more appealing for the students than the freedom to flaunt off in various colors other than mandatory school uniforms? Students- especially girls – make the most of it and wear colorful and modern dresses according to the decided theme of their respective schools. The theme could be anything like Toga Day, Nerd Day, Pirate Day, Rat Pack Day, etc. There may be themes like Red Dresses Day, Pink Dresses Day, Black Dresses Day, etc.

Homecoming Dance

It’s Romantic. It’s lovely. It’s alluring and it’s fantastic. Yes. It’s a Homecoming Dance. It is the party dance and usually a culminating event of the festival. It may be a formal or informal event usually organized in or out of school campus. The venue is decorated finely and music is played. It is a kind of social gathering where young students dance formally and cheer the moments. As far as football and other alumni events are the central point of homecoming event, the homecoming dance is held usually during weeks when the schedules are less tight and more permitting. Whatsoever, homecoming dances are the most thrilling events during the homecoming celebration for young students.


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