Why Do We Toss Graduation Caps in the Air?!

Why Do We Toss Graduation Caps in the Air?!

Melissa W.

Last week, we talked about how the mortarboard became a graduation attire staple, but we teased about a more fun tradition centered around the cap -- tossing them in the air!

There are many moments during a commencement ceremony that stick out as defining -- the processional, hearing the nostalgic “Pomp and Circumstance,” the diploma presentation, keynote speaker, etc. etc., but the one that is often dubbed as being the most fun is the conclusion where students are officially announced as graduates and toss their caps in the air! It signifies both the end and beginning of a chapter -- but who came up with this idea and how did it stick, turning into a tradition?!

The tradition dates back to 1912 at the US Naval Academy. Prior to graduation, students of the Academy were required to serve two years as midshipmen before becoming commissioned as Navy officers, requiring them to keep their uniform hats. Upon graduation for the Class of 1912, graduates were given their new officer hats, deeming their midshipmen hats unnecessary, prompting them to toss the old ones into the air as a form of celebration. The tradition stuck at the Academy and other institutions caught wind, adopting it for their own commencement ceremonies. The act of throwing caps in the air is now widely known as a symbolic act to end a chapter of the graduate’s life. There’s something so unforgettable about watching it from the stands as well as being the person tossing a cap!

Some schools embrace the tradition, while others have banned cap-tossing altogether. Several institutions have taken a middle ground stance, giving graduates soft caps to prevent injuries (the corners on traditional caps are sharp!).

Have you tossed a cap? What did you feel in that moment?! We’d love to hear in the comments!

As a reminder, our team continues to operate with a modified business solution, complete with remote and isolated order processing locations. Our goal is to safely deliver honor and recognition gear to schools and institutions to have ready for their students once graduation dates have been reworked. We understand the importance of graduation regalia and what it means to students and faculty and want graduates to mark their accomplishments in a way in which they deserve. No matter what your commencement ceremony looks like this year, our honor and recognition gear means the same and looks just as great!

We love seeing all of the commencement photos rolling in from around the country! If you’d like to share any images with our team for a chance to be featured, email us at marketing@seniorclassproducts.com

Fun fact: Academy grads added a twist to their tradition, pinning inspirational quotes (and sometimes cash!) to the caps for the children who run through the field after the ceremony in hopes to claim one.

Cover Photo courtesy of: https://www.usna.edu/homepage.php

Add a comment

* Comments must be approved before being displayed.