A Brief History
The Southern Homecoming Mum and its Forerunners
At Plush in a Rush, we are a leading manufacturer of wholesale homecoming mum supplies. We feel it is our duty to explain briefly what a homecoming mum is for all of our customers who venture onto our homecoming mum supply pages...
The chrysanthemum 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. The ancient Chinese name for chrysanthemum is "Chu." The Chinese city of Chu-Hsien (which means Chrysanthemum City) is an eponym of the flower.
Then 2,800 years ago, the chrysanthemum appeared in Japan. So enamored with the mum, that the Japanese decreed that the flower would be the crest and seal of the Emperor. Family seals for prominent Japanese families of nobility also contain some type of mum called a Kikumon - "Kiku" means chrysanthemum and "Mon" means crest. In Japan, the Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum is the most elite Order of Chivalry. Japan also has a mum festival, which is called the Festival of Happiness.
The chrysanthemum was first introduced to the west during some 250 years ago. In 1753 Karl Linnaeus, the famous botanist from binomial nomenclature fame, combined the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold with anthemon, meaning flower.Botanical archaeologists say this is probably a true description of the ancient flower, as it also points out the mum's need for sunlight. The earliest depictions of mums show them as small, yellow daisy-like flowers.
The chrysanthemum was first introduced into the United States during colonial times. Three hundred years later, its popularity has grown such that mums now reign as undisputed "Queen of the Fall Flowers."
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. The pictures below are some examples of modern-day mums.
Today, the silk flower has replaced the chrysanthemum as the centerpiece for homecoming mums, and now you can find them decorated with dozens of charms, ribbons, bells, and even the occasional high school mascot. Plush in Rush offers several unique items that can make your homecoming mum a high school favorite.
A notable difference of the positive feelings many Americans have of the mum (football games, house-warming presents, get-well thoughts), is that in many European countries the chrysanthemum is known as the death flower. In countries such as Belgium and Austria, the mum is used almost exclusively as a memorial on graves.
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