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...
Where the "comic book font" came from

So...why does all the writing in comic books look like that? Vox's Phil Edwards looked into it and found an aesthetic shaped by comics culture, techno...

How a recording-studio mishap shaped '80s music

Warning: This is an unapologetic ode to gated reverb drums Here's a Spotify playlist of some of the best gated reverb songs: http://spoti.fi/2vH7ZZL...

Why Stradivarius violins are worth millions

Many musicians prefer these 300-year-old instruments, but are they actually worth it? Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO Antonio Stradiv...

Want faster wifi? Here are 5 weirdly easy tips.

We've been putting our routers in the wrong place this whole time. Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO Find many more wifi tips here: htt...

The R-rated Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail was a great game — but there were some things they couldn't teach kids. This is the bloody, sexy, drunken trail. Follow Phil Edwards ...

How the Mona Lisa became so overrated

It's not just the smile. There are a few real reasons Mona is so famous. Vox's Phil Edwards looked into it... Follow Phil Edwards and Vox Almanac on ...