Homecoming deserves a special place among recognized holidays

A lot of things make me happy.

I’m really excited when I get presents. I’m ecstatic that Saudi Arabian women have been given the right to vote and can run for election. And I was thrilled when I found out that Doodles was actually a thing (think gourmet Ramen is a myth? Think again, buster). Apple cider, good friends, VV Brown songs … I’m easily a giddy person.

But I think one of the things that really made me happy over the past couple of days was Homecoming Week.

As a freshman and sophomore, I never really understood the concept of Homecoming on a college campus. I was never allowed to go to any high school Homecoming dances (cue the gasp! I had very strict parents), so I think I was semi-permanently soured and a little bit scarred for a while. Plus, I didn’t quite understand the activities. Parades? Spirit rallies? What are we, 16?

Last week, one of my friends received flowers from her parents. When I asked her why they sent her a bouquet (and sent a silent telepathic message to my mom to send me flowers every other week), she told me it was because her parents knew that Homecoming is her favorite holiday.

“Homecoming is your favorite holiday?” I questioned, a bit dubiously. “That’s … weird. What about Halloween? Or Thanksgiving? April Fools? Unofficial?”

“Nope,” she said. “It’s Homecoming. Homecoming all the way.”

Now, she’s a senior, so she may have been extra school spirited and rah-rah’ed up. But after going through the whole week not judging her, and trying to do as many Homecoming activities as possible, I can see her point: Homecoming’s kind of a special animal.

Homecoming Week is when unspeakable things happen. I don’t even remember the last time we were 5-0. Actually, I don’t think anyone does, because I’m not quite sure any of us were alive. A miracle happened out there, but instead of the stereotypical holiday miracle, it was fueled by sweat, determination, crazy fans and a tide of orange and blue.

Homecoming Week is all about coming home. It’s crazy to see all these alumni roll into town, their eyes filled with nostalgia and their conversations filled with “Oh my goodness, the Six-Pack changed … Oh God, KAM’S is STILL here?” It’s nice to know that we cater for them so well, and it’s nice to know that when I come back, I’ll be taken care of, as well.

And among all, Homecoming is a time to let loose, to show our most human side, to just get … well, happy. From parades with tons of candy, to pageants with loyal fan bases, to alumni bowling and speakers, every willing participant was excited, spirited and joyful. And when is that ever a bad thing?

The Fourth of July has fireworks, Thanksgiving has the benefit of celebrated binge-eating and Christmas … well, do I even need to spell out Christmas? But we can’t rule out Homecoming as a good holiday, or at least a very good week of the school year.

It’s midterm season time, flu season and Halloween is about 27 days away. But thanks to my orange-and-blue afterglow, I think I’ll be OK for a while.

Tolu is a junior in Media.