This Saturday sees the big Homecoming football game against the No. 1 Georgia team. The University of Tennessee is holding several Homecoming activities this week to usher in the game on Nov. 13.
But what’s the deal with all this focus on Homecoming? What does it mean? Why do we make such a big deal about this game and this week in particular?
Even if you come away still confused about the meaning of Homecoming, just remember to have fun this week.
What is Homecoming?
Homecoming is celebrated as a way to bring current students and alumni from any graduating year together. It’s mostly celebrated in the United States and Canada, and it includes high schools and churches along with universities.
It is sometimes celebrated with a large event, like a football game, but it can be something else. It’s designed to bring people together who are connected to the same place in some way.
In other words, it’s like a grand family reunion where everyone is driving in from all over to gather together.
How has UT celebrated Homecoming?
The first time that UT celebrated Homecoming was in 1916 with a football game against Vanderbilt. It brought students and alumni together, some even from the 1872 graduating class. The university wasn’t able to make it an annual event until 1925, but it has pretty much been a staple of the university since then.
Ever since, UT has celebrated Homecoming in different ways, mostly with a football game. Some of the other celebrations included a Homecoming Queen crowning, the Southeastern Stomp Fest and events planned by the All Campus Events Committee (ACE), like a parade or a contest.
As for the football game, they celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2016. Here’s to 100 more years!
Is there a theme?
For Neyland Stadium’s 100th year anniversary, this year’s Homecoming theme is “Charge the Checkerboard.” For this theme, there will be a slew of events designed around UT’s history and football.
Some of these events include a banner drop, a Homecoming bonfire, the 21st Southeastern Stomp Fest and an alumni tailgate.
Is The Daily Beacon involved in some way?
The Beacon is not formally involved, but there was one instance of the Beacon having an effect on the Homecoming celebrations.
After 20 years, a Beacon columnist named Vince Staten won the title of Homecoming Queen in 1970. His candidacy was thrown out despite the fact he gained 2,500 votes with a photo of a paper bag on his head.
Essentially, his winning threw off the tradition and stopped it after 20 years. The university has tried to bring it back at different times, but it’s never quite stuck. Talk about dethroning out the monarchy!