Our program coordinators organized a small traditional Italian graduation ceremony last night for the program seniors who graduate this semester. The celebration of graduation isn’t less enthusiastic than the one we have in California. But in Italy, students tend to celebrate their graduations with family and friends outside of school more. Unlike the graduation in California, the most popular way to celebrate I have seen here is to gather on the street with a group of friends to drink and blast out music singing. The person who graduates usually is surrounded by people so the streets can be crowded sometimes with a warm and joyful atmosphere. Everyone is full of genuine gratification to celebrate one of their friends’ biggest days.
Before the ceremony, we had an Aperitivo to start the night. This is also a very traditional activity for Italians to gather with a bunch of friends, colleagues, or family before dinner to just chat a little bit with each other. It usually starts around 3 to 5 pm and ends around 7 to 9 pm before grabbing dinner. This is another activity I like about Italy because it brings people closer to each other once more and increases the chances to spend quality time with your loved ones. The food is usually small bites such as salmon on top of the bread with some cheese, some Bolognese meat accompanied with cheese aside, and juice or wine. I was very enjoying myself at the table because some of us haven’t seen each other for months, which allowed us to greet and ask how each other is doing. We talked non-stop and laughed about the things we did together. It made us sad about leaving Italy so soon and not be able to see each other in California from different schools. We treasure the time and company even more for the night.
At around 8 pm, the Aperitivo came to an end, and the ceremony officially started. Our program coordinator first gave her speech because she also graduated not long ago. Then, as the names called, our seniors came up one by one to be crowned with a leaves-made Laurel wreath to symbolize a triumph aka graduation. The headpiece is wrapped with a wreath of bay laurel with some flowers or small fruit as decorations. In the end, we all came together and took a group picture to remember this moment as a big family.