Symbol of victory, honor, and peace.
The laurel wreath was used by the Ancient Greeks. The laurel wreath was a symbol of Apollo and the leaf itself was believed to have spiritual and physical cleansing abilities. Ancient Greeks awarded laurel wreaths to victors in the Olympics and poetic competitions. Laurel wreaths were worn on either the head or neck. Laurel wreaths were originally made from the bay laurel limbs and leaves. Later wreaths were made from butcher’s brooms, cherry laurel, and olive trees. In Rome the laurel wreath was used to crown a successful commander.
The laurel wreath symbol is interwoven branches shaped into a circle or horseshoe shape.
Laurel wreaths are still associated with academia. For the last two centuries in Rome, any student that has graduated receives a laurel wreath. Since 1900, in Mount Holyoke College graduates carry or wear laurel wreaths or chains. In Reed College, seniors get a laurel wreath after finishing their senior thesis. At St. Mark’s school, seniors who have completed three years of one language and two years of another are awarded a laurel wreath. In Sweden, honorary doctorates receive a laurel wreath, and in Finland master’s graduates are given a laurel wreath.
There is a laurel wreath on the Boy Scout’s commissioner position patches. These patches are given to people who have been in scouting and continue to help future scouts complete their programs.
Today the laurel wreath symbolizes victory and peace.
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