For anybody who has ever gone to high school or college, homecoming is something that everyone in America can recognize, and most people are eager to attend. After all, it is an event that is only comparable to prom night. Who would not want to engage in this age-old tradition? Despite most people having some sort of familiarity with the concept of homecoming, you do not expect the average person to know where this whole idea came from in the first place. 

Before we discuss the history of homecoming, what even is it? Not everybody might know, but here is your opportunity to be filled in. Homecoming is when students or even members of a club are welcomed back to celebrate an event or organization. What it entails is usually a full week of build-up with different themes and activities, a football game, a dance and a variety of other things. There is also the ability to vote for homecoming king and queen.

Many schools and colleges claim to have had the first homecoming event in history, such as Baylor University, the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois.The origins of this tradition can, nonetheless, be traced back to the early 19th century in the west. Homecoming is unheard of in most other countries, being a tradition closely knitted to American youth. However, it is not uncommon for movies to mention the event, which is most likely how people from countries other than America have been exposed to the idea.

Homecoming back then was not much different than how it is carried out today, either. All of the familiar elements were there: a football game, dances and other things of that nature. They were all meant to rally for and strengthen school spirit, or perhaps boost morale for other organizations as well. Fast forward to the present, and things are still pretty much the same. The only exception is technology and how it has affected these traditions. During the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s, we, of course, did not have the vehicles we have today, nor the capabilities for events that were as extravagant.

If you go to any homecoming dance nowadays, there will be music that is most likely not live. Thanks to our phones and computers, we can simply play whatever music we like, when we want to. Not to mention tailgates, which would not even exist without modern vehicles such as trucks. After all, it is where we get the word “tailgate” from: the back panel of a truck that can be lowered for people to sit inside the truck bed. 

With all of that said, homecoming is one of the biggest events of the year for any high school or college student, and hopefully now you are more familiar with where it originated and basically, what it consists of. Even despite all of the years separating modern day society from how it was in the early 1900s, we can still celebrate the same things and all come together as one to share in our school spirit and goodwill.