Education Lifestyle

The Importance of Academic Regalia During Graduation

When it comes to academic regalia, we may have many questions. We’ve outlined the history of the tradition and learned about the symbolic meaning of wearing the regalia. Moreover, we’ve explored the modern-day system of academic regalia sale. Let’s look at the origins of academic regalia, and the traditions surrounding wearing the regalia.

Origin of academic regalia

The history of academic regalia during graduation can be traced back to monasteries in the Middle Ages. At the time, professors of universities were members of the monastic orders, and their garments were a form of identification. While laymen were not often allowed to teach at universities in European countries until the 19th century, British law changed the requirements for university dons to be members of holy orders. Even though laymen were no longer permitted to teach at universities in the United Kingdom, professors continued to wear their religious garb. Academic regalia was typically color-matched to the city of the university, with a common example being the Simon Fraser University, which combines royal blue and red.

The origins of academic regalia during graduation can be traced back to the Middle Ages when the first universities were established. European traditions and the Civil War heavily influenced the dress and ritual of academic regalia. Most colonial colleges required students to wear what was known as a “college habit,” which lasted until the eve of the American Civil War. Even today, Sewanee University students still wear their gowns to class. The academic robe was initially worn as a form of dress associated with a degree. The gown’s length, design, and color reflected the degree level the student was aiming to achieve.

The tradition of wearing academic regalia

Today, academic regalia is worn by university graduates during the convocation ceremony. This tradition has been around for centuries and honors the larger purpose of higher education. While it is a traditional graduation gown, many students occasionally wear their academic regalia. 

The tradition of wearing academic regalia during graduation can be traced back to the Middle Ages when education was primarily the function of religious organizations. The monks’ habit and cowls worn over the head were the predecessors of today’s black gown. Likewise, the modern-day mortarboard evolved from the medieval skullcaps worn by churchmen. 

Modern-day system of academic regalia

In most universities, students receive a degree by wearing academic regalia, which varies in length and style according to the degree and level of scholarship earned. For example, a bachelor’s gown is plain, while a master’s gown is more elaborate, with a hood and three stripes on the arms. However, the colors of the academic regalia continue to signify the disciplines. For example, a doctoral degree requires a dark blue gown.

Historically, academic regalia have represented a tradition of privilege and equality for students. The modern-day system of academic regalia involves different colors and lengths, depending on the degree. It also symbolizes a person’s ethnic heritage. Despite the modern era’s emergence, the traditional use of academic regalia has remained unchanged. Despite its many benefits, wearing one is still a privilege.

Steps to layering stoles and sashes

For a traditional look, layer your stoles and sashes during your graduation ceremony. Whether they are woven or made of silk, you can wear one or several. Depending on the style of your stole, you can layer different cords on the same sash to mark different achievements. To maintain the quality of your graduation stole, steam it before wearing it to remove any creases. Be sure to use a low heat setting for delicate materials, as a high heat setting may damage them. Don’t try to iron the fabric too much, though, because it might stretch or lose its shape.

Some graduates will wear extra graduation decorations, like sashes and cords, for a traditional look. These decorations are given to students to show their distinction. While they should be displayed, they are not added to a graduate’s graduation overdress. Cords, sashes, and stoles may be layered on each other, but you should avoid tying them together.