The chrysanthemum (or MUM) was first grown in the Far East – China – as a flowering herb and was first written about by scribes over 3,500 years ago. Their artwork shows mums as they would appear today in fact. Folklore teaches that the boiled roots were taken as a headache medicine and ancient culinarians used sprouts and petals in salads. Sometimes, the leaves were brewed for recreational purposes.
A homecoming mum is usually made with a few mum flowers surrounded by ribbon, like a prize ribbon around the edges, and it has lots and lots of ribbons hanging down. The fatter ribbons will have stickers that say the girl’s name, the school, the year, “homecoming,” etc. There are skinny ribbons with bells and megaphones and other doo-dads hanging off. Some mums are mammoth. Others are small and subduded.
According to The Mum Shop, The first homecoming celebration dates back to the year 1911. University of Missouri Athletic Director, Chester Brewer, afraid that fans and alumnus would not attend the “big game” due to a change in location, devised a plan to add some excitement to the game. He challenged the alumnus to return home for a great celebration with parades, parties, a rally, and of course the big game.
For many of us in the South, and for virtually all Texans, our introduction to the chrysanthemum was a corsage for the girlfriends and mothers at Homecoming football games.