Why Do We Wear Graduation Gowns


Why Do We Wear Graduation Gowns

Graduation day is a special and memorable event in the lives of students all around the world. It signifies the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and is often accompanied by various traditions and rituals. One such tradition that is universally observed is the wearing of graduation gowns. But have you ever wondered why we wear these gowns? In this article, we will delve into the history and significance of graduation gowns, and explore some frequently asked questions about this age-old tradition.

The history of graduation gowns can be traced back to medieval Europe. In the 12th century, universities began to emerge and formal education became more prevalent. During this time, the clergy played a significant role in education, and many students were aspiring to become members of the church. As a result, they adopted the attire of the clergy, which included long robes and hoods, to signify their dedication to learning.

Over the years, graduation gowns evolved to differentiate between different academic degrees. The length, color, and style of the gowns varied depending on the level of education and the field of study. For example, bachelors’ gowns were typically shorter and had long, pointed sleeves, while doctoral gowns were longer and featured velvet panels and trimmings.

The tradition of wearing graduation gowns was carried to America by the early European settlers. As the country’s education system developed, so did the significance of graduation gowns. Today, graduation gowns are worn by students of all levels, from kindergarten to doctoral programs, and are an integral part of the graduation ceremony.

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But why do we still wear graduation gowns in the present day? The answer lies in tradition and symbolism. Graduation gowns symbolize the achievements and accomplishments of the graduates. They serve as a visual representation of the years of hard work and dedication that have led to this momentous occasion. Additionally, graduation gowns create a sense of unity and equality among the graduates, as they all wear the same attire regardless of their backgrounds or personal styles.

Moreover, graduation gowns have a practical purpose. They provide a sense of formality and decorum to the graduation ceremony, adding a touch of elegance and solemnity to the occasion. The gowns also allow for the easy identification of graduates, making it easier for family and friends to spot their loved ones in the sea of graduates.

FAQs about Graduation Gowns:

Q: What are the different colors of graduation gowns and what do they represent?
A: The color of graduation gowns varies depending on the field of study. For example, graduates in the arts and humanities typically wear black gowns, while those in the sciences may wear gowns in different shades of blue. The specific colors often represent the historical traditions of each field.

Q: Do all graduation gowns have hoods?
A: No, not all graduation gowns have hoods. Hoods are typically worn by graduates who have earned a higher degree, such as a master’s or doctoral degree. The hoods are often lined with a specific color that represents the graduate’s field of study.

Q: Can I personalize my graduation gown?
A: While the basic design of graduation gowns remains the same, some institutions allow graduates to add personal touches to their gowns. This may include adding patches, pins, or embroidery to represent achievements, affiliations, or personal sentiments.

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Q: Can I keep my graduation gown?
A: Yes, graduates are usually allowed to keep their graduation gowns as a memento of their academic journey. However, it is important to note that rental gowns are common in many institutions, and these must be returned after the ceremony.

In conclusion, the tradition of wearing graduation gowns has a rich history and continues to hold significance in modern times. These gowns symbolize academic achievements, add formality to the graduation ceremony, and create a sense of unity among the graduates. So, the next time you don your graduation gown, remember the centuries-old tradition and the countless hours of hard work that it represents.