What is all the pomp about? Graduation season is here, and calendars are full of ceremonies – from the adorable kindergarten commencement to those receiving college degrees, we love to celebrate these special occasions. Graduations are recognized as milestones in one’s life; a time of leaving one phase of life behind, and looking forward to another. Nearly 6 million students are set to graduate this year, so if you are planning to be at one of these commencements, here are a few quick facts about what you will likely see.
The cap and gown are an ensemble that dates back to the 1400’s. Because the Roman Church was the only institute of higher learning, the students (usually monks), wore liturgical robes and biretta hats. Although the United States still honors this old tradition, many places in the world do not, with graduates simply wearing sashes to indicate their status. The tradition of throwing one’s cap in the air is a much more recent phenomenon and began at the US Naval Academy in the early 1900’s. In the past several years, many schools have banned the celebratory toss, citing injuries incurred when pointed mortarboards come raining down.
Traditionally, graduation certificates were written on sheepskin, a custom that only ended in the last century. The sheepskin was then rolled up and secured with a ribbon; to this day, graduates are often handed a paper scroll commemorating the tradition. Speaking of tradition, the iconic processional march. Pomp and Circumstance, is a British military march, written by Englishman Edgar Elgar. Yale University incorporated the march into their ceremony back in 1905, and it has been a standard ever since.
Of course, showering graduates with flowers is also a longstanding tradition. From as early as Greek and Roman wars and competitions, the victors were adorned with floral wreaths, petals, and bouquets. The graduation season, call Toblers Flowers for the most beautiful floral arrangements in Kansas City, and make sure that your graduate knows how proud you are of them.