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A golden laurel wreath, origin: probably Cyprus, 4th—3rd century BC.
A laurel wreath decorating a memorial at the Folketing, the national parliament of Denmark.

A laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), an aromatic broadleaf evergreen, or later from spineless butcher's broom (Ruscus hypoglossum) or cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). In Greek mythology, Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. In ancient Greece wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions, including the ancient Olympics made of wild olive-tree known as "kotinos" (κότινος),[1] (sc. at Olympia) and in poetic meets; in Rome they were symbols of martial victory, crowning a successful commander during his triumph. Whereas ancient laurel wreaths are most often depicted as a horseshoe shape, modern versions are usually complete rings.

In common modern idiomatic usage it refers to a victory. The expression "resting on one's laurels" refers to someone relying entirely on long-past successes for continued fame or recognition, where to "look to one's laurels" means to be careful of losing rank to competition.[2]

Academic use[edit]

Ovid with laurel wreath, common in poets.

In some countries the laurel wreath is used as a symbol of the master's degree. The wreath is given to young masters in the graduation ceremony of the university. The word "Laureate" in 'poet laureate' refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. The medieval Florentine poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri, a graduate of the Sicilian School, is often represented in paintings and sculpture wearing a laurel wreath.

laureato is the term used in Italy to refer to any graduated student. In Italy, right after the graduation ceremony (in Italian: laurea), the student receives a laurel wreath and is allowed to wear it for the rest of the day. This tradition was born in the University of Padua and since the end of the 19th century is common to all Italian universities.

At Connecticut College in the United States, members of the junior class carry a laurel chain, which the seniors pass through during commencement. It represents nature and the continuation of life from year to year. Immediately following commencement, the junior girls write out with the laurels their class year, symbolizing they have officially become seniors and the period will repeat itself the following spring.

At Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA, laurel has been a fixture of commencement traditions since 1900, when graduating students carried or wore laurel wreaths. In 1902, the chain of mountain laurel was introduced; since then, tradition has been for seniors to parade around the campus, carrying and linked by the chain. The mountain laurel represents the bay laurel used by the Romans in wreaths and crowns of honor.[3]

At Reed College in Portland, Oregon, United States, members of the senior class receive laurel wreaths upon submitting their senior thesis in May. The tradition stems from the use of laurel wreaths in athletic competitions; the seniors have "crossed the finish line," so to speak.

At St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts, students who successfully complete three years of one classical language and two of the other earn the distinction of the Classics Diploma and the honor of wearing a laurel wreath on Prize Day.

In Sweden, those receiving a doctorate or an honorary doctorate at the Faculty of Philosophy (meaning philosophy, languages, arts, history and social sciences), receive a laurel wreath during the ceremony of conferral of the degree.

In Finland, in University of Helsinki a laurel wreath is given during the ceremony of conferral for masters's degree. Doctors wear special kind of Doctoral hat.

Architectural and decorative arts motif[edit]

"Victory, A Knight Being Crowned With A Laurel Wreath" by Frank Dicksee.

The laurel wreath is a common motif in architecture, furniture, and textiles. The laurel wreath is seen carved in the stone and decorative plaster works of Robert Adam, and in Federal, Regency, Directoire, and Beaux-Arts periods of architecture. In decorative arts, especially during the Empire period, the laurel wreath is seen woven in textiles, inlaid in marquetry, and applied to furniture in the form of gilded brass mounts. Alfa Romeo added a laurel wreath to their logo after they won the inaugural Automobile World Championship in 1925 with the P2 racing car.

Wreath of Service[edit]

The "wreath of service" is located on all commissioner position patches in the Boy Scouts of America. This is a symbol for the service rendered to units and the continued partnership between volunteers and professional Scouter. The Wreath of Service represents commitment to program and unit service.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ LSJ entry κότινος
  2. ^ "look to one's laurels". Oxford. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ Loomer, Jennifer. "Traditions: Laurel Parade". Mount Holyoke Historical Atlas: Traditions of Mount Holyoke College. Mount Holyoke College. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "The History of Commissioner Service". Golden Empire Council. Retrieved 9 June 2006. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurel_wreath — Please support Wikipedia.
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323 news items

 
Gothamist
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:52:30 -0700

He explained his outfit, which has chest plate and laurel wreath-esque headpiece, "It's inspired by Greek mythology. I supposed it's Zeus-like but the trident suggests something more like Neptune." However, when my daughter and I walked by him (twice), ...

Lowell Sun

Lowell Sun
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 04:26:15 -0700

Chelmsford native Meghan Curran receives her laurel wreath after being the first female finisher at the 39th Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday in Arlington, Va. AP PHOTO. ARLINGTON, Va. -- For Chelmsford native Meghan Curran, her first try at running a ...

Bleeding Yankee Blue (blog)

Bleeding Yankee Blue (blog)
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:30:00 -0700

As the host of the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, he presented decathlon and pentathlon champion Jim Thorpe with a laurel wreath and, according to legend, said, “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world,” coining a phrase that has become an ...

Greek Reporter

Greek Reporter
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:30:00 -0700

Greek parade_Canada For yet another year, the Greek community of Montreal celebrated the “Oxi” national day with brilliance and mass participation on Sunday. Doxology for those who gave their life in the Albanian Front took place in Saint George ...
 
Boston.com
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:51:59 -0700

Between picking apples, Instagraming foliage, and guzzling pumpkin-spice lattes, it's perfectly understandable if Halloween preparation may have slipped your mind. Or maybe, like us, you're just extremely lazy. But extreme laziness and extreme ...

BBC News

BBC News
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:44:15 -0700

A member of the Irish parliament has laid a wreath at a Flanders peace park on the centenary of the World War One Battle of Ypres. Frank Feighan, from the governing Fine Gael party, laid the green laurel wreath at the Island of Ireland Peace Park on ...

Lowell Sun

Lowell Sun
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:07:30 -0700

First-place female finisher Meghan Curran, a Chelmsford native, receives her laurel wreath after the 39th Marine Corps Marathon Sunday in Arlington, Va. AP PHOTO Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site. WASHINGTON -- Chelmsford ...

Discovery News

Discovery News
Sun, 12 Oct 2014 08:01:53 -0700

“The chariot is pulled by two white horses and driven by a bearded man wearing a laurel wreath on his head,” the ministry said in a statement. In the front of the chariot is the god Hermes, the psychopompos (literally meaning the “guide of souls”), who ...
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