The photos say it all. This is the time when the parents just get to stand proudly alongside their children as they receive their reward for their hard work. The hood and gown symbolise this as your young adult moves into a new stage.
There is considerable history behind academic regalia. Some hoods have fur around them and I have heard two theories about this. The first is that the fur indicates that this is your first degree and so you are a fledgling bird and the second is that as a first degree you are furthest from the fire of knowledge and need the fur to keep warm. All undergraduate degree holders wear a hood and this needs to be worn correctly so that half colour and half non-colour is showing. The easiest way to put this on is the way you put a bridle on a horse! That is, stand with the hood facing and then "throw" it over the head and let it fall naturally across the back.
Doctoral students get to wear what looks like an old-fashioned hot water bottle on their heads...and often they have beautiful strips of silk down the front of their gowns, the colour denoting the faculty they studied in.
Colours do matter. Unfortunately you can't choose a hood to match your outfit. Each faculty has specific colours and the students wear hoods that denote their degree. For example, Mathematical Science gets to wear "neon pink". It is quite useful to take the list with you to the graduation ceremony so that you can see what the students have studied.
Degrees are a part of you for the rest of your life. They cannot be taken away, they don't have a shelf life. They indicate to employers that you have ability and stick-ability to see a programme through. Congratulations to everyone on this important day!
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR
FRIENDS FOR LIFE
And on that happy note, have a wonderful graduation celebration. Please feel free to post your young person's graduation photo here and tell us how it felt (I admit, I cried...). Sue