History of the Sadie Hawkins Dance

In the United States, the Sadie Hawkins Dance is an event usually sponsored by a high school or middle school, for which the girls ask the boys to attend the dance with them. The idea is wildly popular for girls who enjoy taking the initiative, rather than waiting around to be asked to a dance. Even though there have been Sadie Hawkins Dances since 1938, most teens are unaware of the history behind it.

The history of Sadie Hawkins dances goes back to the old comic strip, Lil' Abner, and was named after the character Sadie Hawkins. In the strip, November 13th was the one day each year that the unmarried women of the fictional town of Dogpatch could chase the bachelors; if a woman caught a fellow, she had the right to marry him. According to the strip, Sadie Hawkins was one of the homeliest girls in the town, but on one November 13, she caught herself a husband.

The first Sadie Hawkins Day dance took place in 1938; by the next year, there were more than 200 documented Sadie Hawkins Day events. Originally, Sadie Hawkins Dances were held in November, as in the comic strip. Today, Sadie Hawkins Day doesn't necessarily have to be held on November 13, nor do the couples have to marry. Regardless, Sadie Hawkins Dances have become a fun tradition in schools throughout the nation, though sometimes the dances may go by an alternative name, such as Girl Break, Morp (prom spelled backwards), Ladies' Choice and Vice Versa.

Generally, Sadie Hawkins Dances are more informal than the traditional homecoming and prom dances. Couples will often wear matching outfits to show that they are there together or, if the dance is themed, their costumes might match the theme. Some ideas for Sadie Hawkins Dance themes include the Wild West, fictional characters, Disney characters, beach party or the Roaring -20s.

The Sadie Hawkins dance has cropped up in popular culture as well. The popular rock band Reliant K has a song that talks about the dance and it has been mentioned in some hit TV shows, such as "Boy Meets World," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Lizzie McGuire."

Sometimes, the term "Sadie Hawkins" is applied to a particular designated song during a more traditional dance. In this case, the DJ will announce that the next song is a "Sadie Hawkins dance" and that girls should be the ones to invite the boys to dance.

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