Texas photographer, Nancy Newberry, is usually traveling, on assignment, or can be found “chasing tumbleweeds in Marfa, Texas”, but a confluence of events brought her back to her childhood roots and to a tradition rooted in Texas culture, the Homecoming Mum. Nancy injured both of her hands and returned home to recuperate.
While trying to fill my time with something other than learning to open doors with my feet, strains of the high school marching band lured me to my alma mater’s Homecoming Game. Confronted by stands packed with cheering Mum devotees, I immediately realized an opportunity to not only reconnect with the optimism and energy of my own teenage mythology, but to deconstruct and document the Mum praxis.
Virtually unknown outside of Texas, a roughly 60-year-old tradition takes place on Homecoming Friday, aka Game Day. Exchanged between boyfriend and girlfriend, parent and child or friend to friend, the Homecoming Mum is an elaborate corsage, or for the boys, a garter worn on the arm. What began as a simple gift of a chrysanthemum for girls to wear to the game has evolved into an institution regarded as seriously as the game itself. The Mum consists of a large silk flower decorated with long glittery ribbons, bells, stuffed animals and other trinkets, which indicate the wearer’s interests, social
standing, and allegiances to loved ones and friends.
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