National Prom Day Date in the current year: March 31, 2024

National Prom Day For many American teenagers, prom is a source of cherished memories that will last a lifetime. It is common to start preparing for prom night well in advance, sometimes even months before the big event. March 31 is an excellent day to start preparations since it is National Prom Day.

A prom (short for “promenade dance”, although hardly anyone uses the full name anymore) is a formal dance held for high school students at the end of the academic year. Some schools in the United States hold separate proms for junior and senior students, some combine them into one big event, and some allow only seniors to have a prom.

The first proms were held in colleges in the 19th century. They served a social function similar to that of debutante balls, being the first adult social event for teenagers and a milestone comparable to the first communion or even a wedding. Around the early 20th century, proms scaled down from college balls to high school dance parties.

High school proms started to gain momentum again in the 1950s, when the United States began to recover from the war, and Americans had more money and leisure time at their disposal. Proms moved from high school gyms to country clubs and hotel ballrooms, became more elaborate and extravagant, and eventually transformed into one of the most notable events in the lives of most high school students.

Prom traditions (promposals, competition for prom queen, formal attire, matching boutonnieres and corsages, couple photos, renting limousines or party buses) have been widely portrayed in popular culture. For example, you will hardly find a teen show that doesn’t feature at least one prom-focused episode. And their portrayal is not an exaggeration (well, maybe just a little): prom night is a big deal for most high school students, especially for seniors who are about to graduate.

National Prom Day was founded in 2016 by PromGirl, an online retailer for teen special occasion fashions that sells dresses, shoes and accessories for proms, homecomings, sweet sixteen parties, and other special occasions. The idea behind the holiday is not just to highlight the significance of prom night and promote PromGirl’s business; one of its goals is to support nonprofits that make the lives of teens better.

For example, in its inaugural year, National Prom Day supported Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), an organization that empowers students and educates them about bullying, depression, substance abuse, and traffic safety. In the following years, PromGirl partnered with the Garden of Dreams giving program for young people in need and other youth-focused nonprofits.

How can you celebrate National Prom Day? If you’re going to prom this year or have a high school-aged kid, it’s time to start planning and shopping for the big night. Other ways to celebrate include sharing your prom photos and memories on social media with the hashtag #NationalPromDay, donating a prom dress or suit to a teenager in need, watching your favorite prom movies or prom-themed episodes of your favorite TV shows, or throwing a prom-themed party for your adult friends.

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National Prom Day, observances in the US, unofficial holidays, prom, prom night, high school dance