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High school teenagers all over the US, and in some other countries as well, have the tradition of celebrating in the spring of the year by getting all dressed up and going out. Donning their formal dresses or gowns, suits or tuxedos, prom-goers can make a big deal out of going out to dinner and a dance together. 

From renting a limousine to riding in a horse and carriage, or having a prom after-party with friends, this rite of passage should be fun for everyone. And that’s just what National Prom Day is all about!

History of The Prom

This tradition of throwing and attending a prom in the United States can be traced back to the early 1800s when they were originally known as the Promenade. (It’s easy to see why the name was shortened to simply be called the ‘prom’.)

The idea for the prom was originally meant to be a formal party that would allow newly-taught young men to show off their recently learned social graces for activities, and it was originally more like a tea party or dinner. This practice was created in hopes that these young men could increase their social standing and perhaps allow them to spend an evening with a lovely young woman. Boys would wear their best clothes and girls would often wear a fancy dress that was borrowed from an older friend or inherited from their mothers.

As times changed, prom became an activity of the senior class of high school, allowing them a fun activity before graduating and moving on into the world. The tradition of the junior class throwing the prom as a party for the senior class evolved in the mid-1900s and it turned into more of a dance party and a social event. Sometimes the location of a prom was a gym but many moved to local country clubs or hotels.

The bells and whistles of prom events increased significantly over time and, by the 1950s, it was even beginning to include the tradition of voting for the Prom Queen and Prom King to preside over the event. Today’s prom attendees often go all-out and have the time of their lives celebrating just before high school is over. And National Prom Day is here to be part of it all.

History of National Prom Day

While proms have certainly been celebrated as a tradition for many decades, National Prom Day is a day that has appeared on the scene a bit more recently. In fact, the first record of its celebration was in 2016, when it was founded by PromGirl, a formalwear company that makes prom dresses.

The company’s desire for establishing National Prom Day was to build a community that would be able to foster confidence, individuality and empowerment for teenagers, whether it is in relation to prom or to life and the world in general. Plus, the motivation behind the day is that ‘every girl deserves her Cinderella moment’.

National Prom Day was established to not only honor the fun and excitement of the high school senior prom, but it also incorporates good deeds into the mix. In fact, each annual day comes with its own set of charitable activities as well as community events built around social media. Created with the goal to celebrate the history and tradition of proms, as well as their future, National Prom Day offers an opportunity to have some fun, show some honor, and encourage everyone to make the world a better place.

How to Celebrate National Prom Day

Celebrate National Prom Day with some of these fun ideas:

Make a National Prom Day Charity Donation

One of the reasons to celebrate National Prom Day is to allow those who struggle to participate in prom for financial reasons aren’t kept from it. The National Prom Day Charity has the Garden of Dreams Foundation where children who face obstacles can have an amazing prom night!

Watch Some Classic Prom Movies

A variety of movies, especially films from the 1980s, feature the idea of the big school dance or the prom. Have fun celebrating National Prom Day by watching one – or several – of these fun movies featuring the prom:

  • Pretty in Pink (1986). Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and John Cryer star in this teen rom-com-drama about a girl who is in love with a guy from the other side of the tracks.
  • Some Kind of Wonderful (1987). With a similar plot to Pretty in Pink, this one features Eric Stoltz, whose character is dying to take high-society Amanda Jones (played by Leah Thompson) to the prom, while his best friend (played by Mary Stuart Masterson) is really in love with him.
  • Sixteen Candles (1984). Filled with more Brat Pack actors, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, this John Hughes flick tells the story of a girl (who is no prom queen) whose family forgets about her sixteenth birthday, but her dream boy comes to the rescue in the end.
  • Footloose (1984). Kevin Bacon stars in this quintessential teen movie where a whole town has been banned from dancing. But when a new bad-boy (played by Bacon) makes an appearance in town, he causes the pastor’s daughter and others to rebel and throw a prom anyway.

Post a Prom Throwback Photo

Folks who have been to prom in the past might find it fun to celebrate National Prom Day by posting a picture from their prom on social media. From the pale pastel dresses and powder blue tuxedos of the 1970s or the huge hair days of the 1980s with huge poofs and ruffles, photos that offer a blast-from-the-past provide tons of fun in celebration of the day.

Donate a Prom Dress or Suit

One great way to make it possible for a kid to go to prom is to donate a gently used prom dress or suit. Plus, it’s a great way to reuse, reduce and recycle as well! Many kids are looking for something vintage to wear to prom and this is a perfect way to celebrate National Prom Day

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