Close

We're all familiar with Pomp & Circumstance, the graduation song that's the official soundtrack of almost every commencement. But how did it get so big? In this episode of Vox's Almanac, Phil Edwards investigates and finds diamonds, war, and Dame Clara Butt. Follow Phil Edwards and Vox Almanac on Facebook for more: https://www.facebook.com/philedwardsinc1/

Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO

Pomp & Circumstance has long been a graduation anthem. Part of Edward Elgar's infamous military marches, the tune was composed in the midst of the Boer War, a conflict that expanded the British empire in search of diamonds and gold. When the song was used for Edward VII's coronation, it was lent words that, even today, promote the British empire. That's why the version with lyrics is known as "Land of Hope and Glory."


The famous song was used when Elgar received an honorary degree at Yale and, quite simply, people liked how it sounded. It quickly spread and became a graduation anthem in America (and remained an unofficial national anthem in the UK). Today, we hear it everywhere — and it's all thanks to Edward Elgar's unique place in British culture.

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app.

Check out our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE
Follow Vox on Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H
Or on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o

YOU MAY LIKE
Loading...
Would you use time travel to kill baby Hitler?

Well? Would you? Vox's Phil Edwards asked author James Gleick about the history of this unusual philosophical question. Follow Phil Edwards and Vox Al...

Color film was built for white people. Here's what it did to dark skin.

The unfortunate history of racial bias in photography. Subscribe today: http://goo.gl/0bsAjO For decades, the color film available to consumers was ...

The better way to board an airplane

The way we board airplanes make no sense. Tests have shown that boarding the plane back-to-front is much slower than the alternatives. Check out our q...

How a dictionary writer defines English

Kory Stamper works for Merriam-Webster. So how does a dictionary writer define the language? Follow Phil Edwards and Vox Almanac on Facebook for more:...

Why these all-white paintings are in museums and mine aren't

Why do all-white paintings sell for millions of dollars and end up in museums? Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO So-called "white paint...