In the United States, Graduations are used in schools below University level such as: high-school, middle school, and even kindergarten and preschools, in addition to the university level.
The American Council on Education (ACE) is the authority on academic dress, and has developed an academic ceremony guide that is general followed by most institutions of higher learning. Square caps with tassels, known as a mortar board and gowns known as robes are worn. During the ceremony, a separate hood is also traditional for higher education.
In some regions of the United States, it is common for the family of the graduate to throw a graduation party, wherein photos, awards, and trinkets of the graduate throughout their education are displayed and cards and gifts are also given to the graduate.
In Japan, singing is a large part in the Japanese school curriculum and is also a big part of graduation. The first song is Japan’s National Anthem, followed by the city song and the school song. The lower class sings to the graduating class during the ceremony, and then everyone sings together.
In the Philippines, graduation ceremonies are held at the end of March, or in some cases, the beginning of April every year. Filipinos take part in a graduation ceremony ever time they complete an education level. Dress varies based on the education levels, however all graduates usually wear corsages pinned on the left lapel or breast of their clothing.
In the United Kingdom, unlike the U.S., students do not usually “graduate” from school below university level. Many universities begin with a procession and have a traditional ceremony delivering diplomas one by one across the stage, followed by a speech. Some of the older universities may hold their ceremony in Latin, even though few students understand the language.
In Russia, the graduation is called “The last bell.” The girls all wear black dresses with white aprons as an homage to their school uniforms. Sashes are also worm. All of the graduating students line up in front of the school and then leave to celebrate.
In Sweden, students and families meet for breakfast and a champagne toast. They put on white sea captain hats and sashes
that will be covered with notes and well wishes by the end of the day. Students will meet at the school and start chanting and singing as seniors exit the building. As a group, they sing their way down the street as a mob of families hold signs with giant (sometimes embarrassing) photos of everyone’s childhood faces. Students then climb into their respective homemade parade floats and ride around town all day, celebrating and singing.
In Hong Kong, high school is called secondary school. After five years of secondary school, all students have to take a final exam. If the students pass the exam, they can go on for two more years and then celebrate graduation. If the students don’t pass, however, they can’t continue school and graduation is celebrated with the older students who are graduating after their seventh year of secondary school. School uniforms are worn during the ceremony.
In Norway, there is not much of a ceremony arranged for students. They celebrate more on their own. The seniors are given the week of May 17th (Norway’s Independence Day) off to celebrate on their own. However, the celebration goes on for up to three months. On May 16th, most graduates stay up all night preparing for the next day. At some time in the morning, the whole class wakes their teachers with their car horns. Over the years, the teachers have learned to prepare for this event, so some wait up for the students and meet them with breakfast and beverages, while other teachers just leave town or leave traps for the seniors to step in. There is no graduation ceremony in Norway, and it is not a family thing. Diplomas are handed out to the seniors in an assembly on the last day of school. However, graduation is still a very big time for the students because they are allowed to do things that are usually not permitted. This includes many illegal activities that cannot be charged as a crime by the police.