Unique Graduation Traditions From Around the World

Summer blog series #2

The end of the school year is an opportunity to celebrate everything you’ve accomplished, especially when it comes time for graduation! Read on to discover what graduations are like around the world–and get inspired to start a new tradition.

A sticky situation

In Argentina, graduates are pelted with ketchup, syrup, and other sticky food. Probably best to not wear anything that requires dry cleaning!

A royal graduation

In Thailand, students run through two days of rehearsals for their graduation. Many students book professional photo shoots and even have cardboard cutouts of themselves printed. Why all the fuss? Perhaps in part because degrees are handed out to graduates by a member of the royal family!

Aye aye, captain

In Sweden, graduating students don sea captain-style hats. They sing and chant as they leave their school while family and friends stand outside the school, cheering and waving posters with funny childhood photos!

Armed with more than knowledge

In Finland, Ph.D. recipients wear a doctoral top hat and sword to their graduation ceremony. The sword symbolizes the graduate’s fight for what he or she, “in rigorous research, has found to be good, right, and true,” according to the University of Oulu.

A crowning achievement

In Italy, many recipients of university diplomas don bay leaf wreaths, or laurels. The tradition dates back to ancient Greece, when poets and scholars were similarly honored.

Concentric circles of diplomas

At Smith College in Massachusetts, graduates participate in the “Diploma Circle.” It’s a tradition, started in 1911, where students pass around diplomas in concentric circles, stepping back once they have received theirs.