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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: The Prom (08/02/04)

TITLE: Origins and Customs of the Prom
By Larry Hill


Many of us have attended a Prom or are least are familiar with someone who has. Have you ever considered where the term Prom originated from? I asked this question to quite a few people and no one had a clue. Most folks know that a Prom is a formal dance held near the end of the school term, but where did this word come from?
The word Prom is actually short for promenade according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000. The word promenade was used long ago to describe different things ranging from a leisurely walk as a social activity to a formal dance or ball and it is still used today to designate an upper deck on a ship used for passengers to “promenade”. This term can be traced back to the French word “promener” meaning to take a walk.
Now that we are more familiar with the beginnings of the modern Prom, let’s take a quick look at the customs of this social event. It is considered essential for young men to wear a formal tuxedo and the young ladies to wear the most beautiful dress available. A corsage of flowers is always provided by the young man as his first gift of the evening. The venue is always to be decorated elaborately and with a meaningful theme for the graduating class. The task of planning and decorating is usually the responsibility of the junior class and the golden rule prevails, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. After all, the junior class should always remember that next year it will be their turn to bask in the spotlight provided by a new junior class.
The young men traditionally ask the young ladies for the privilege of accompanying them to the event and are expected to undergo her parents critique when they arrive to pick up their date. This can be an uncomfortable time for the suitor but rest assured it usually only lasts a short few minutes. This seemingly endless wait is well rewarded as the beautifully adorned young lady makes her entrance. This moment will be remembered for the rest of their lives.
Prom participants should always be reminded of these essential rules for having the best time possible.

1. Pray for guidance and responsibility as you contemplate who your date for the evening will be and later as you make final preparations. Pray constantly without ceasing for a safe and honorable time.

2. The young man must always be a gentleman, open the doors for his date and do his utmost to make her feel special and comfortable in all situations. Remember, she is the queen of the event and it is his responsibility to cater to her every need and want.
3. The young lady must always behave like a lady, she must remember that her date is the king of the event and she should do her utmost to make him feel special and comfortable in all situations and let him know her needs and wants to make the night a memorable one for both.
4. NO drugs, NO alcohol and NO sex. Any one of these will only serve to ruin the memory of this special event and could easily cost both participants their lives and their futures.
This once in a lifetime privilege is also an opportunity to show your parents and your peers that you are as responsible and grown up as you want them to believe that you are. Have fun and be safe and the memories of this night will last a lifetime.

Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight08/09/04
Great entry! Wish I would have had it to give to my kids before prom night.
Dian Moore08/09/04
How neat that you researched the meaning of the Prom. Loved your rules, too. The first two are good ones for marriage, also.
Anthony David08/10/04
Dear Larry, an excellent exposition on the Prom with bible based and relevant advice. All our present dy teenagers need advice like this!
Deborah Porter 08/10/04
Larry, I really enjoyed reading this. It had a little bit of everything in it. I think quite a few of us wondered where the term came from and now that you've explained it, it actually makes sense. We don't have a "prom" down here in Australia (it's called a "formal" here) so I really enjoyed reading about the history and traditions. Then to see you wind it all up with some great advice just made it even better. With love, Deb
L.M. Lee08/12/04
nice thoughts for young people!