Learn about the Italian tradition of the laurel garland for your college defence

Symbolism in the context of the thesis defence

Laurel wreath - corona d'alloro. In Italian, the word laurea means diploma, graduation.

The tradition of decorating the head with a laurel garland during the thesis defence is a symbolic act that refers to the students' values and aspirations. It symbolises the triumph and achievement that the student has gained during their studies. It is an acknowledgement of the hard work, dedication and determination he or she has devoted to exploring knowledge in his or her chosen field.

It is interesting to note that there is a different colour of ribbon for each university department. For example, red stands for literature, blue for medicine. It can also be selected according to personal preference.

Heritage and inspiration

In Greco-Roman mythology, the laurel wreath symbolised wisdom and glory. It was a characteristic symbol of scholars and poets. It was used as a form of distinction and honour, much like a medal. It was worn on the head, girdled or hung on the door of the house to symbolically protect the inhabitants from misfortune.

The laurel was considered a sacred plant in classical culture, particularly associated with the god Apollo.

Today, the laurel garland remains an important symbol in Italian culture, continuing its heritage as an expression of glory, wisdom and achievement.

For many Italians, it is not only an ornament but also an expression of pride in their literary and intellectual heritage.

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