Cap and Mortarboards: The History and Meaning of Academic Headwear

Cap and mortarboards are the square-shaped hats that are worn by graduates and faculty members in academic ceremonies. They are also known as academic caps, graduate caps, Oxford caps, or trenchers. They are part of the academic regalia, which includes the gown and the hood. Cap and mortarboards have a long and rich history, and they symbolize the academic achievement and honor of the wearer.To get more news about CAP & MORTARBOARDS, you can visit official website.

The origin of cap and mortarboards can be traced back to the medieval Europe, where scholars and clergy wore various types of headwear to indicate their status and profession. Some of the early forms of academic headwear were the biretta, a four-cornered cap with a tuft or a pom-pom; the pileus, a round skullcap; and the beret, a soft and flat cap. These headwear were usually made of wool, felt, or silk, and they had different colors to represent different fields of study or ranks of degree1.
The modern shape of cap and mortarboards was influenced by the Renaissance fashion, which favored flat and square hats. The term “mortarboard” comes from the resemblance of the hat to the tool used by bricklayers to hold mortar2. The term “Oxford cap” comes from the University of Oxford, which adopted the square cap as its official headwear in the 17th century3. The term “cap” is derived from the Latin word “caput”, which means "head"4.

The main components of cap and mortarboards are the board, the skull-cap, the button, and the tassel. The board is the flat and square part that covers the top of the head. It is usually made of cardboard or plastic, covered with fabric. The skull-cap is the part that fits around the head. It is usually made of cotton or polyester, with an elastic band or a drawstring to adjust the size. The button is the part that attaches the board to the skull-cap. It is usually made of metal or plastic, with a hole or a loop for the tassel. The tassel is the part that hangs from the button to the side or the front of the face. It is usually made of rayon or silk, with a knot or a charm at the end.

The color and style of cap and mortarboards may vary depending on the level of education, the field of study, and the institution of the wearer. In general, black is the most common color for cap and mortarboards, but some institutions may use their own colors or designs to distinguish themselves. The color of the tassel may indicate the level of education: white for bachelor’s degree, gold for master’s degree, and black for doctoral degree5. Some institutions may also use different colors for different fields of study, such as blue for philosophy, green for medicine, purple for law, etc. The position of the tassel may indicate the status of graduation: on the right side before receiving the degree, and on the left side after receiving it.

Cap and mortarboards are not only a dress code, but also a meaningful and memorable part of graduation. They signify the hard work and accomplishment of the graduates, as well as their connection and belonging to the academic community. They also create a sense of unity and pride among the graduates, as they celebrate their milestone together. Cap and mortarboards are a way to honor the past, present, and future of education.