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  • Writer's pictureJordan Chmiel

Unveiling the Evolution of Graduation Caps: A Symbol of Academic Achievement




The graduation cap, also known as the mortarboard, is an iconic symbol of academic achievement and accomplishment. From its humble beginnings to its modern-day design, the evolution of the graduation cap is a fascinating journey that reflects the rich traditions of academia. Join us as we explore the history and evolution of this timeless accessory.




Origins of the Graduation Cap

The origins of the graduation cap can be traced back to medieval Europe, where scholars would wear square-shaped caps known as "birettas" as part of their academic attire. These caps were often made of velvet or other fine fabrics and were worn by clergy and scholars alike as a symbol of their intellectual prowess.




The Transition to the Mortarboard

In the late Middle Ages, the biretta gradually evolved into the iconic shape of the modern-day mortarboard. The transition to the mortarboard design is often attributed to its practicality—it was easier to manufacture and store compared to the earlier square-shaped caps. The mortarboard's distinctive design, with its flat square top and tassel, became synonymous with graduation ceremonies and academic achievement.



Symbolism of the Tassel

One of the most recognizable features of the graduation cap is the tassel. The tradition of wearing the tassel on the left side of the cap and then moving it to the right side during the ceremony symbolizes the transition from candidate to graduate. In some cultures, the color of the tassel may also carry symbolic meaning, representing the wearer's field of study or academic achievement.




Modern-Day Trends

While the basic design of the graduation cap has remained consistent over the years, there have been some modern updates and variations. Today, graduates can choose from a variety of styles, materials, and colors for their caps and tassels. Some universities even offer custom-designed caps featuring school logos or emblems to add a personalized touch to the ceremony.



The Evolution Continues

As we look to the future, the evolution of the graduation cap continues. With advancements in technology and materials, we may see further innovations in design and functionality. However, no matter how the graduation cap may change, its significance as a symbol of academic achievement and scholarly excellence will always remain unchanged. The evolution of the graduation cap is a testament to the enduring traditions and values of academia. From its medieval origins to its modern-day design, the graduation cap has remained a timeless symbol of academic achievement and accomplishment. At Cappe Diem, we are proud to provide quality graduation regalia, including caps and tams, to help students and professors celebrate their academic milestones in style.


Wishing you Much Success, Jordan Cappe Diem

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