Every year, on May 17, we celebrate National Graduation Tassel Day as a way of honoring students, their academic achievements, and the start of a new journey in their careers. Despite the United States having impressive high school graduation rates, it is no easy feat! It involves years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Sometimes it is easy to forget the sacrifices students make to realize their dreams and National Graduation Tassel Day reminds us of just that. This is the perfect day to celebrate how far you have come!
History of National Graduation Tassel Day
The most well-known symbol of graduation is a mortarboard hat with a dangling tassel. The tassel also displays the colors of the institution. According to tradition, the brand new graduate moves the tassel from right to left when their name is called before they go on to the stage to receive their anticipated diploma. This tradition started some 50 years ago!
The graduation ceremony dates back to the 12th century when European universities would honor academic excellence and Latin was the language of instruction. The typical graduation outfit was a gown and hood, or hats adapted from the daily attire of university staff in the Middle Ages. The outfit was inspired by medieval clergy and it has pretty much remained the same through the centuries. A typical graduation ceremony is marked by new graduates receiving their degrees and tossing their graduation cap into the air.
It is also in May that schools and universities across the country typically host graduation ceremonies for students. The auditoriums are filled with happy families and friends of graduates who gather to watch and celebrate the academic achievements of their loved ones.
National Graduation Tassel Day timeline
The oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna is founded.
The oldest university in the U.S., Harvard University is established.
Alexander Lucius Twilight is the first known Black person to graduate from a college in the U.S.
Mississippi College becomes the first co-ed college in the U.S. to grant a degree to a woman.
National Graduation Tassel Day FAQs
When is the National Graduation Tassel Day?
National Graduation Tassel Day is observed on May 17.
When did the graduation hat originate?
It is believed that the graduation hat originated in the 15th century.
When was the first graduation ceremony?
The first graduation ceremony dates back to the 12th century.
How to celebrate National Graduation Tassel Day
Post a photo
Dig out some old albums and find your favorite photo from the day you graduated. Post it to your social media with the hashtag #NationalGraduationTasselDay!
Revisit your university
Some of our most cherished moments are from our college and university days. Take some time off to visit your university campus to relive your favorite memories of the days gone by!
Congratulate a new graduate
If you know someone who has recently graduated, send them a present to congratulate them! A small, thoughtful gift like a care package makes for a great National Graduation Tassel Day present!
5 Facts About Graduation That Will Blow Your Mind
The attire is almost 900 years old!
The graduation hat and robe date back to as early as the 12th century!
Graduation caps are inspired by the biretta
Many believe the mortarboard-style graduation hat was inspired by the biretta — a hat worn by the Roman Catholic clergy.
The hat represents a book!
Mortarboard hats are shaped like a square to give them a scholarly appearance and some believe that the hat also represents a book.
You move the tassels from right to left
At the beginning of graduation ceremonies, tassels are traditionally worn on the right side of the hat and once graduates receive their diplomas, the tassels are moved to the left.
The tossing of the hat
The tradition of tossing graduation hats into the air dates back to 1912 and originated during a Naval Academy ceremony.
Why we love National Graduation Tassel Day
It’s a day to catch up with friends
Call up your old university or school friends and get together to celebrate National Graduation Tassel Day. You can also organize a virtual party with all your classmates and relive your favorite memories of college.
It celebrates a bright future
National Graduation Tassel Day is a day of optimism because it is all about new graduates and their hopes for the future.
It’s a day of introspection
It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and forget how much we have achieved since we graduated. This is a good day to reflect on how far you have come and celebrate your progress!
National Graduation Tassel Day dates