Adela,  Americas,  United States

Graduation Traditions

Traditional Graduate cap, gown, and tassel

Since it’s that time of year where students from all over receive their diplomas after years of hard work. We decided to do a short post on where some of the traditions actually started.

The Graduation cap, which is sometimes called a mortarboard, due to the fact it resembled the mortar board used by bricklayers. The mortarboard is believed to have developed from the biretta. The Biretta is worn by Roman Catholic clergy and academics, typically in red or black, square, upright with three or four peaks.

The Graduation tassel has been worn on graduation cap for centuries, In the last 40 or 50 years student started moving the tassel from the right side to the left side of the cap after receipt of the diploma to signify themselves as graduates.

Tossing the Graduation Cap in the air after graduation was started in 1912 by the U.S. Naval Academy. Graduates before 1912 would spend two years as midshipmen and would need to keep their midshipman’s hats to wear. In 1912 the Naval Academy decided to immediately commission the graduates as officers. The graduates no longer needed their old hats because they would now be wearing new hats. So the graduates, no longer needing their old hats threw them into the air after their graduation.

The Graduation Gown, or scholar’s, gown was developed in the 12th century when universities started to become popular. During the Middle Ages most universities had poor heating, which required the wearing of long gowns with hoods to keep warm. Typically most scholars were also clerics, so they tended to wear their clerical robes.

The Class Ring first appeared in 1835 when the U.S. academy West Point had them made to designate the school they graduated from and are now made to be personalized to the student’s preference.

The tune typically played at graduation processionals and recessionals is called Pomp and Circumstance, written by Sir Edward Elgar in 1901, is also known as Land of Hope and Glory. It was originally modified with lyrics that were added to celebrate the crowning of King Edward the VII. When Sir Edgar received an honorary doctorate from Yale University in 1905, Pomp and Circumstance was played in honor of his accomplishments and it quickly became popular after that.

We’d like to wish a Congratulations to all the 2022 Graduates out there.