A baccalaureate is a formal ceremony where achievements are recognized and awards are presented.
The majority of high schools and universities organize the event, with the term baccalaureate being a Latinized version of baccalarium which means "tent tablets" (i.e. charts kept by the ancient Romans). This was an honor roll of sorts, listing the names of students who are successful and have graduated.
The date of a baccalaureate also coincides with the university students’ final exams. Originally a baccalaureate was a ceremony that a university alumni would attend to learn about their valued alumnus’ achievements.
The tradition of a baccalaureate started in Germany in the 17th century, and since then, this custom has spread all over the world. The ceremonies are similar in all the countries, but some celebrations can vary. For example, in the United States, some students’ gowns differ depending on their areas of study.
The ceremony includes speeches in Latin, can sometimes include skits, and occasionally singing. The two most common events are those of the baccalaureate held by high schools and that of the universities. Keep reading to learn more about each of these baccalaureate ceremonies.