Topic of the moment - graduation

Graduation is a word used when someone receives a degree after completing his or her education. It can also be used as a verb: to graduate.

In many countries graduating from school, college or university is a reason for celebrations. To mark the occasion, the school or university will hold a ceremony in which everyone will be dressed in academic gowns and receive their certificate. This graduation ceremony is a very important occasion for students and their families.

History of graduation

Graduation ceremonies are believed to have started in 11th century in France. These ceremonies were conducted after a student finished his or her formal education, and before they were expected to begin teaching. So this ceremony celebrated a person finishing their degree and then entering the teaching profession.

Today when someone graduates they are given a gown and a cap to wear. Usually the gown color or its sash will tell you what level the person is graduating from, whether it is a B.A, Master’s or Ph.D. degree.

Graduations in the USA and UK

In the United States, there are often graduation ceremonies after a student completes preschool, high school and college too. In each ceremony, the student walks across a stage to receive a diploma and shake hands with the president, or other representatives of the school.

In the United Kingdom, ceremonies are held after a student completes their secondary education and university degrees. Traditionally, Ph.D. students got on their knees in front of their university’s Vice-Chancellor, who then put a stole around their neck to mark their achievement.

So tell us about graduation ceremonies in your country – what traditions do you have?

Image: j.o.h.n. walker