Curious History

17 October, 2017
Curious History

A Tradition Of Prom Nights

Prom night is when curfews are broken, limousines are taken for a fun ride, girls dressed in colorful gowns and boys in ill-fitting tux pose for pictures they will remember for the rest of their lives. A prom, short for promenade, was a simple banquet held for the graduating class in the 19th century American universities. But many historians believe that prom may have existed in the late 1800s. A student from Amherst College mentions an invite to the prom at Smith College for women in his 1894 journal. The prom might have just meant a senior and junior class dance.

The growing teenage culture made prom look much younger. At the beginning of the 1900s, it was just a dance where boys and girls wore their best outfit. The event called for drinking tea, meeting people and dancing. In the 20s and 30s, it turned into a yearly banquet and the youth started enjoying more freedom with the introduction of car and other luxurious items.

The post-war economy in the 50s saw the Americans enjoying more luxury and this resulted in proms being elaborate and expensive. This era also witnessed teenage girls paying more attention to their outfits and taking shopping trips in search of that perfect outfit. Gradually, competition bloomed as teenagers strut in their best dress, best looking date and car. It became a must to come with a good-looking date and being called to the prom court ensured an instant status.

High School Prom Themes

In the 80s, prom achieved a larger-than-life status because many teen movies depicted it as the coming-of-age. The title ‘prom king’ and ‘prom queen‘ achieved dizzying heights of popularity as they started being compared to royalty.

This also allowed many high schools to shun their gymnasium venues in favor of hotels or country clubs. In fact, President Kennedy had to rearrange a $1,000 fundraiser event in 1963 at Beverly Hilton as the place was booked for a prom night. The White House had also witnessed a prom night when the President Ford’s daughter held her high school prom night event.

Nowadays, students take inspiration from movies and novels to decide their prom theme. In one way or the other, prom nights have become an important event in the life of every high school student. They are expensive, all night affair, fancy dresses, enchanting ballroom have become the new standards for a prom night party.

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