Ceremony – La Plata, Argentina

“ Graduation in La Plata”

Matias Meli is a Fine Arts major at the National University of Argentina in La Plata, Argentina. He was born and raised in the city of La Plata, Argentina- a smaller city extension of the capital city Buenos Aires. He speaks English and a dialect of Spanish referred to as Castellano by its speakers.

Graduation from University in La Plata, Argentina is an important stage of development and is a highly honored achievement. University education is free of cost to all eligible students in the city of La Plata- therefore the courses of study tend to be extremely rigorous and only a small percentage of students enrolled in each course actually receive passing grades. When a student successfully graduates from the University, he/she is rewarded in a quite unusual manner. His/her friends and family generally attack him/ her with rotten food and beverages. It is a common scene to see eggs and whipped cream along with all sorts of mashed up foods on the grounds of the University campus as well as the clothing of the recent graduate. This sort of practice is seen as hazing, but is a necessary hazing in the cultural life of La Plata, a university-dominated city.

According to Matias, the graduation ritual of food attacks is an important practice, which represents the student’s transition from university-life to the working world. The practice of dumping disgusting foods on the recent graduate is a public display of accomplishment and the emergence of a successful working individual from the university system.

The practice of dousing recent graduates with sticky liquids and covering them with rotten foods is a visible expression of the lore held amongst the student body of La Plata. These students all share a common experience, the university experience in La Plata, Argentina. All students in that university are subject to the high demands and often times seemingly insurmountable expectations required for graduation, that it seems purely natural that some sort of outrageous demonstration of accomplishment would be customary. In a word, the graduation hazing of La Plata is a way that students connect with one another and honor the achievements of their graduated peers.