What Is a Graduation Hat Called
What Is a Graduation Hat Called?
One of the most iconic symbols of graduation is the graduation hat, also known as a mortarboard. This distinctive headpiece has been worn by graduates for centuries, and its design is instantly recognizable. But have you ever wondered why it is called a graduation hat? In this article, we will explore the history and significance of the graduation hat and answer some frequently asked questions about this beloved symbol of academic achievement.
The Origins of the Graduation Hat
The origins of the graduation hat can be traced back to medieval Europe. During this time, scholars and academics wore long robes and hats as part of their everyday attire. The hat, known as a biretta, was a square-shaped cap with a flat top. It was typically made from black velvet and had a tassel hanging from its center.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, universities began to adopt the biretta as part of their official academic regalia. Over time, the biretta evolved into the modern graduation hat we see today. The square shape was replaced with a more rounded design, and the tassel became a significant feature of the hat.
The Symbolism of the Graduation Hat
The graduation hat, or mortarboard, is rich in symbolism. Its square shape represents the shape of a mortarboard, a tool used by masons to hold mortar during construction. This symbolizes the building of knowledge and the foundation of education. The flat top of the hat, which is often adorned with a button, signifies the completion of a degree or program.
The tassel, another important element of the graduation hat, holds its own symbolism. Traditionally, the tassel is worn on the right side of the hat until the moment of graduation. Once the graduate receives their diploma, they move the tassel to the left side. This symbolic gesture represents the transition from student to graduate and celebrates the achievement of earning a degree.
FAQs about the Graduation Hat
Q: Why is the graduation hat called a mortarboard?
A: The term “mortarboard” refers to the square, flat top of the hat, which resembles the board used by masons to hold mortar. This name reflects the hat’s original design and its connection to the construction of knowledge.
Q: Why do graduates throw their hats in the air at graduation?
A: Throwing the graduation hats in the air is a time-honored tradition that symbolizes the joy and celebration of completing a degree. It is a way for graduates to express their excitement and commemorate their achievements together.
Q: What is the significance of the tassel on the graduation hat?
A: The tassel represents the transition from student to graduate. Traditionally, it is worn on the right side of the hat until the moment of graduation, when it is moved to the left side. This gesture symbolizes the completion of the degree and the start of a new chapter in the graduate’s life.
Q: Why are graduation hats usually black?
A: The color black has long been associated with formality and seriousness. It is a traditional color for academic regalia, including graduation hats. However, in some countries, different colors may be used to represent different fields of study or academic achievements.
Q: Can I personalize my graduation hat?
A: Many graduates choose to decorate their graduation hats to reflect their personality, interests, or achievements. However, it is important to check with your school or institution regarding any guidelines or restrictions they may have regarding personalization.
In conclusion, the graduation hat, also known as a mortarboard, is a symbol of academic achievement and the completion of a degree. Its origins can be traced back to medieval Europe, where scholars wore the biretta as part of their academic regalia. The symbolism of the hat, including its square shape and the significance of the tassel, adds further meaning to this timeless symbol. Whether you call it a graduation hat or a mortarboard, this iconic headpiece holds a special place in the hearts of graduates around the world.