Which Side of Graduation Hat Tassel


Which Side of Graduation Hat Tassel?

Graduation day is a momentous occasion in the life of every student. It signifies the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. One of the most recognizable symbols of this milestone is the graduation hat, also known as a mortarboard. Adorned with a tassel, the graduation hat holds great significance, but have you ever wondered which side of the graduation hat tassel should be worn? In this article, we will explore the history behind the placement of the tassel and the various traditions associated with it.

The Origin of the Graduation Hat Tassel:

The graduation hat, or mortarboard, has been a part of academic attire for centuries. Its unique design, with a flat square board and a tassel hanging from its center, has remained relatively unchanged over time. The tassel itself has its roots in medieval European universities, where scholars wore a skullcap called a biretta. The tassel on the biretta was originally used to secure the cap to the head and prevent it from falling off. Over time, the tassel became purely decorative and was eventually incorporated into the design of the graduation hat.

Which Side Should the Tassel be Worn?

Traditionally, the placement of the graduation hat tassel has varied depending on the level of education one has achieved. In the United States, it is customary for high school graduates to wear the tassel on the right side of the hat before the official conferral of their diploma. Once the diploma is received, the graduates move the tassel to the left side, signifying the completion of their studies. This tradition is often followed in other countries as well, including Canada and Australia.

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For college and university graduates, however, the practice differs. It is customary in many institutions for the tassel to be worn on the right side throughout the graduation ceremony. Once all graduates have received their diplomas, a symbolic gesture takes place, often referred to as the “turning of the tassel.” This is when graduates move their tassels from the right side to the left side of their hats, symbolizing the transition from student to graduate.


Q: Why is the tassel worn on the right side for college graduates during the ceremony?
A: The tassel is traditionally worn on the right side for college graduates as a symbol of their ongoing journey as students. It is only moved to the left side after the official conferral of the degree.

Q: Can I move my tassel to the left side before receiving my diploma?
A: It is generally recommended to follow the traditions of your institution and wait until after receiving your diploma to move the tassel to the left side. However, some institutions may have their own unique customs, so it’s best to consult your graduation guidelines.

Q: What should I do if my tassel falls off during the ceremony?
A: If your tassel falls off, it is considered good luck. Simply pick it up and reattach it to your hat on the appropriate side.

Q: Can I keep my graduation hat and tassel as a memento?
A: Absolutely! Many graduates choose to keep their graduation hats and tassels as cherished keepsakes of their academic achievements.

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In conclusion, the placement of the graduation hat tassel holds great symbolism and significance. Whether you are a high school, college, or university graduate, the tradition of the tassel serves as a visual representation of your academic journey. So, remember to proudly wear your tassel on the right side during the ceremony, and once you receive your diploma, make that triumphant move to the left side, celebrating your accomplishments and the beginning of a new chapter in your life.