Mum is also the amazingly large concoction that has appeared over the hearts of many a young woman this high school homecoming season.
Born in Texas, but raised in Tennessee, the concept of a mum larger than her date is rather odd to me. So, I've done a little research after doting over some friends' pictures of their daughters' "mumification."
The Internet told me that the chrysanthemum, back in the late 1700s became known as the "Queen of Fall Flowers." Perhaps there is a connection between that title and the idea of homecoming queen. (I didn't search that, but feel free to waste your time doing so.)
The 1970s introduced a lot of things to society, one of which was the increasing size and elaborate nature of the homecoming mum. Young girls, and their zealous parents, began adding large ribbons, charms, bows, bells, cowbells (which I would have thought most high school girls wouldn't want around their necks), stuffed animals, school mascots and now even LED lights.
These new bohemums are, come to find out, not actual flowers any more. Most have been replaced with their silky cousins due to the longevity and the expense that goes into the masterpiece.
As Texans and Baptists, we know that a lot of great things start in Texas (reference paragraph 2 above). And apparently the large mums (and big hair) started here and began sweeping across the country in the past few years starting in our pioneer-challenged neighboring states of Oklahoma and Louisiana. But staying true to the statement "bigger in Texas" our home state continues to hold the record for mum size.
My son, currently 8, may see trends shift or may be helping his future date construct a homecoming mum with shoulder straps, back support and attendants to carry the train.
The Texas Baptistist