How Did the Sadie Hawkins Tradition Start and Why is it Popular Now?

By Sadie Hinck 

As students go throughout the school year and their high school career, they participate in many different experiences such as dances and school traditions. Many of these things seem as though they’ve always been a part of the American high school experience. One such tradition is Homecoming. The very first time that Homecoming was demonstrated was in 1909 at Baylor University. It started as a college tradition, but it later became a high school tradition during the 1980’s. But what’s the history behind the Sadie Hawkins dance (Sadie’s), and what exactly is the meaning behind it?

When most people think about Sadie Hawkins, they usually think of a casual “girls-ask-guys” type of dance, but many people don’t know where this high school tradition comes from.

Almanac.com states that the name Sadie Hawkins comes from Al Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner (1934-1978). Sadie Hawkins is the name of one of the characters from the comic strip, and she was known to be so ugly, according to nationaltoday.com, that she couldn’t win any suitors. As well as being the name of a character in the comic strip, Sadie Hawkins is also known as Sadie Hawkins Day. This was a day in Li’l Abner when unmarried women would chase and pursue their men, and if the men were caught, marriage was unavoidable.

But then why do high schoolers participate in a Sadie Hawkins dance?

Also according to nationaltoday.com, many people, especially in the 50’s, really liked the idea of Sadie Hawkins Day because it switched the gender norms where guys ask girls. Many schools started to have dances like this, and it spread the tradition of the Sadie Hawkins dance. Many guys also like the “girls-ask-guys” idea because it takes the pressure off of asking someone to a dance, and it gives them an opportunity to be surprised when someone else asks them.

(Photos by yearbook staff)

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