It is sometimes said that the USA and the UK are two nations divided by a common language and I have been pondering this recently. I have heard and read a lot about homecoming parades. To me, this means a parade through the streets of troops returning from theatres of war. Homecoming may also describe family members or friends arriving home after a holiday or an extended period away and perhaps being given a welcoming party.
I have been thinking what a homecoming parade for schools may mean. Is it simply a ceremony to mark the beginning of the new school year? Why would there be a homecoming queen? Is there a king? It all begins to sound like a summer fête or the build-up to a carnival. Perhaps it is designed to welcome back students from their summer camps or holidays, to emphasise the recommencement of the common purpose and experience of learning together under the same roof after weeks of individuality. Do all schools have homecoming parades or is it a practice restricted to institutions in smaller towns? Surely it doesn’t happen in New York? Or does it?
I could understand a parade at the end of the school year, though I suppose the Prom is a more fitting celebration. Our secondary schools have now adopted this tradition and our eldest granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed her Prom this year, which was held near the end of term. It’s her sister’s turn next year. Our local school held its Prom before the GCSEs (public examinations) had been taken – that must have cut into revision time! I can’t imagine the students felt very celebratory at that juncture.
I don’t think our young people generally anticipate the beginning of another academic year with much delight so maybe a homecoming parade engenders enthusiasm together with a sense of community and a positive attitude to school. So, if I’ve guessed correctly at the reasons behind the homecoming parade, I think it’s another American custom we could assume quite happily.
By the way, is a BFF a Best Forever Friend (or Best Friend Forever) and if it is, what’s a BBFF?