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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) used for cooking Adobo, 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.

As used in heraldry[edit]

A laurel wreath in the coat of arms of Peru.

Laurel wreaths are sometimes used in heraldry. It may be used as a charge in the shield, around the shield or on top of it.

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]


  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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1234 news items

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:18:45 -0700

Everything had been turned on its head at this carnival in the sign of torture and terror: the laurel wreath was a plait of thorns, with finger-sized spikes; the purple cloak, a dirty scrap of cloth; the scepter, a cane for beating: falling at his feet ...


Sun, 30 Aug 2015 07:37:30 -0700

2015 Struga Poetry Evenings festival will close Sunday evening with international poetry meeting “Bridges,” which traditionally takes place every year at the Bridge of Poetry, and presentation of Golden Wreath, Brothers Miladinov and Bridges of Struga ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Mon, 24 Aug 2015 05:22:30 -0700

The honour is represented by a red ribbon, an oak and laurel wreath and five-armed medal with the head of Marianne, the national symbol of France, on one side and two tricolour flags with the motto “Honneur et Patrie” (Honour and Fatherland) on the other.


Sun, 23 Aug 2015 20:31:10 -0700

Thickset running to fat, his body tapers to a large head, bald save for a laurel wreath of hair curling around the sides. Looking out over the Aegean Sea he tells me how Crisis Greece has come to the island. Niko has had the Taverna for 20 years. Like ...
Longford Leader
Sat, 29 Aug 2015 03:52:30 -0700

As part of this event a laurel wreath will be laid and if there are family members present they are welcome to lay their own wreaths to mark the occasion. Afterwards there will be refreshments in St. Mary's Hall and a display of information about the ...


Fri, 28 Aug 2015 02:33:45 -0700

Bella Freud's signature sign off of gold embroidered stars with a gold Laurel Wreath has been applied to her take on the Fred Perry shirt, a Cornflower Silk Knitted Tank and two Gingham Long Sleeved billowy 70's style shirts. Punk stripes are seen on ...
The News Wheel
Tue, 18 Aug 2015 06:30:00 -0700

The Laurel Wreath: A symbol of aristocracy and victory. Cadillac logo old design. The most popular design during the 20th century. At the turn of the century, a new “Wreath & Crest” logo was introduced at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The ...
Lewiston Sun Journal
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:06:30 -0700

I think we've got that out of our program.” Time will tell if that program includes an Oxford 250 laurel wreath. For the first time ever, though, Kruczek at least has raced his way into the conversation. koakes@sunjournal.com. E-mail Print Report a ...

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