It was once a solemn, sacred day, more scholarly than social, more ceremonial than festive. But around five or six years ago, with the boom of digital cameras and social media that allow self-celebratory broadcasts, the commencement and graduation ceremonies in Thailand have shifted to a whole new level. They've become our culture's most glorified rite-of-passage milestone _ not to say the second most expensive, perhaps only after a wedding.
His Majesty the King handing out the degrees surely lent prestige to the ceremonies in the time of our parents, and although the King no longer does so now, other members of the Royal Family still do, making Thailand the only country in the world to have royalty giving out university degrees. That means the day has always been a big deal, but how people respond to this big deal has changed from, say, 40 years ago: it is much more expensive and wasteful, if not blown quite out of proportion.
The graduation season is upon us. Throughout this month, most universities will be holding rehearsals for the actual ceremonies in July.
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