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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.

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]

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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2194 news items

 
seattlepi.com
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 06:03:05 -0700

9:00 p.m.. Tatyana McFadden has given the gold laurel wreath she won for her third straight women's wheelchair victory at the Boston Marathon to the family of the 8-year-old boy killed in the 2013 finish line bombing. McFadden wore a singlet in memory ...
 
Worcester Telegram
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:18:45 -0700

On the third tier of the base are bronze plaques with the seal of the city of Worcester, the U.S. shield, the Massachusetts state seal, and crossed swords encircled by a laurel wreath. Surrounding the memorial are four cannon barrels, made of stone ...

Irish America

Irish America
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:33:45 -0700

Consul General Jones, who laid a traditional Irish green laurel wreath on behalf of the Government of and people of Ireland to commemorate the more than 3,000 Irish serving with the Allied forces who lost their lives during the Gallipoli campaign, is ...

St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:11:15 -0700

One Saturday when I was 12, mom woke us before sunrise. I had just dreamt of socking another home run in Yankee Stadium. "Steig oof!" she yelled downstairs. "Wake up!" After breakfast we sliced a mountain of potatoes into chunks, one eye each.

Irish Times

Irish Times
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:02:57 -0700

The President's green laurel wreath, standing out among the other 14 poppy wreaths, had the inscription: On behalf of the people of Ireland. The Chaplain General to the British Land Forces said they were gathered to recall the courage of those who had ...

Voice of America

Voice of America
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:15:00 -0700

BOSTON—. A few blocks from the finish line and even closer to the spot where the second bomb exploded during the 2013 Boston Marathon, race organizers have built a combination clubhouse, interactive museum and retail store that, for the first time ...
 
Wicked Local Waltham
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 07:39:28 -0700

There was women's wheelchair winner Tatyana McFadden, who wore an “MR8” jersey in support of the Martin Richard Foundation, named for the boy killed in the bombing, and presented her laurel wreath to Richard's father. There was grand marshal Dick ...

Boston Herald

Boston Herald
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:56:15 -0700

So when McFadden received the laurel wreath given to the winners of the race yesterday, she gave it to Bill Richard, Martin's father. “I had the pleasure of getting to know Martin Richard's family and ever since the first day I met them, I knew this ...
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