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The World's Best Graduation Rituals

Congratulations! You've worked hard and now you're here, ready to graduate! People around the world celebrate graduations, and everybody has their own special twist. Sure, the mortarboard caps and gowns are weird enough, but for some? Not weird enough. Let's take a closer look at some graduation celebrations around the world.

May 14, 2018
  • Student Tips
  • International News
The World's Best Graduation Rituals

Congratulations! You've worked hard and now you're here, ready to graduate! People around the world celebrate graduations, and everybody has their own special twist.

Sure, the mortarboard caps and gowns are weird enough, but for some? Not weird enough.

Get ready to read about some graduation rituals that read as if they've been taken from the "weird but true" files.

Let's take a closer look at how five different cultures celebrate graduations.

1. Norway

Today marks the end of russefeiring, Norway's month-long music and drinking binge for Norwegian high school graduates. "Russefeiring," or "Russ" for short is a weeks-long partying and drinking festival that leads precludes Norwegian final exams...and often leads to some to public exposure.

While specific rituals for Russ vary across schools, many of the rituals revolve around indecent or public exposure, leading Norwegian Public Roads Administration director, Terje Moe to make a statement on having sex on roundabouts and running naked on bridges, two practices that have gained popularity in recent years.

In an article on Norway's , he said, “I hardly want to be seen as a killjoy or as Aunt Sofie. But dear graduates: Ringsaker has 97 other challenges to choose from. I’m sure that is also the case elsewhere in the country."

According to  Terje Moe Gustavsen, a former minister of transport who now runs the Public Roads Administration, said in a statement entitled "No to sex on roundabouts:" “Everyone understands that being in and around roundabouts is a traffic hazard. It may not be so dangerous for someone to be without clothes on the bridge, but drivers can get too much of a surprise and completely forget that they are driving."

To their credit, the graduating students of Ringsaker removed roundabout sex from this year's list of challenges and the 2018 ܲڱ𾱰Բhas been without major incident.

2. Italy

"Trashing," or publicly covering a new graduate in trash is common not just in Italy, but in Argentina and the UK, too. It's not just any trash, either: eggs, glitter, flour, ketchup, and even scissors to cut up the graduate's clothes.

The practice is so common that Italian universities have passed ordinances that govern it: confetti has to be biodegradable, trashings have to happen away from the main road, and you can't go anywhere near exams are still happening.

3. Finland

In Finland, PhD graduates can wear and present swords at their ceremonies, because swords represent their fight for what “in rigorous research, has found to be good, right, and true."

There are rules, though. At the University of Lund, the graduates must earn the certified civilian sword of the Republic of Finland, exactly 87 centimeters long, 1.6 pounds, and carried on the left side. Women need a belt to match their outfits.

4. China

In China, the traditional cap and gown don't cut it. Students dress up as brides, pirates, "Republican Period" students, and mimic wedding proposals.

Why? According to an article in "Graduation ceremonies are not fun. Parents don’t typically attend and professors don’t hug. Speakers are usually party bureaucrats and officials affiliated with the school, delivering platitudinous and dry elocutions. In fact, the only place for graduates to creatively express themselves is the formal photo shoot."

The idea? Celebrating whimsy and fun before entering into the harsh world of work.

5. Japan

It's not uncommon to wear a cap and gown--and many of us look ridiculous in them. Originally, European universities required them because graduates were often religious monks. That's right, we're wearing some version of a priest's gown when we graduate.

Japan's Kanazawa College of Art takes it a step further. Graduates dress up (or down) in whatever they feel like: a life-sized cello, maybe, Iron Man, a fork.

Learn more about earning a bachelor's degree.