Tradition/folk object


My informant notified me that, in texas, girls receive a folk object from their homecoming dates. He reported that in the past guys bought girls mums to pin on their dresses instead of corsages. These mums evolved into large ornaments, necklaces made of a variety of materials like beads and cowbells. Each features a teddy bear in a costume. The costumes resemble uniforms associated with certain extracurricular activities, like cheerleading outfits for cheerleaders or band uniform for band members. If the girl accepts the boy’s invitation to go to homecoming as a couple, the boy buys the appropriate bear that represents the girls activity in school.

These can be expensive, usually sold for at least $80.00 and can go well over $200.00.  My informant said that this money generally goes to the school and helps fund the dance, explaining that the school rents space nearby to make the mums.


My informant was largely against the idea of mums. He thought they were “stupid” and a “giant waste of money.” His girlfriend during Junior and Senior year requested that he did not buy her a new one, saying she would just recycle hers from the last year (so that they could save money). He also said it was supposed to be cute, and somehow represent Texas through the cowbells, but also expressed general distaste for their aesthetic value. He said that the girls also buy guys “garters”, which are less expensive, are smaller, and fit on the boy’s upper arm.


The cowbells, a symbol of rural spaces, symbolizes Texas and reinforces the Texans identity. Mums, like corsages and boutonnieres, are a means of expressing thanks (for going to the dance as a couple). The mums various levels of detail and ornateness reflect how thankful a date is or the level of the family’s wealth. Also, it reinforces girls identity’s, allowing them to conform to a certain group by wearing a uniform that symbolizing that group.



An article on Mums can be found at :