To matriculate (v.): to enroll in a college or university as a candidate for a degree.
Saturday morning was massive matriculation in Oxford. All students (undergrad and post grad students) got dressed in their fancy sub fusc attire. The attire rules were strict; gents had to wear a white collared shirt with hand-tied white bow tie with black pants and jacket with their sub fusc gown and mortarboard. Ladies were limited to black skirt or trousers with black tights, white collared shirt and a black bow string along with gown and mortarboard. The only difference between undergrads and grad students was the length of their respective gowns. Apparently, more wisdom gets you more square inch of fabric.
Additionally, students aren't supposed to wear their caps as they haven't yet earned their degrees. That's why you'll see most people carrying their caps rather than wearing them-- they are always exceptions and those who couldn't resist wearing them.
As for the actually ceremony, it takes a total of about 10-15 minutes and it basically recognizes students' official entrance into the university. I can't tell you how important attendance was; if you don't show, you're in BIG trouble. With whom? I'm not sure, but it's bad.
The Vice Chancellor addresses the students first speaking to them in Latin (no subtitles here) and then in a very British English speech on the virtues of truth, knowledge, wisdom, duties and intellectual 'wallowing.'
As you can see, Sue and I are taking this very seriously.
And after all this formal Medieval formalness? You parade back out into the street as tourists gawk and take pictures, and find friends from orientation to head to the pub with. At 11:30 am. There are, obviously, priorities.
And this guy's playing the violin on a tightrope with a shirt tied a la Britney Spears on the tummy. Oh, Oxford!
Tonight will be the other matriculation. The sub fusc matriculation party. The theme's the same but there will be a lot less formality and a lot more altered attire!