As it’s the end of the school year, you likely know someone graduating from high school or college. Perhaps even yourself! To commemorate, we’re going to take a look at how the Jedi graduation ceremony has changed over the changes that take place in the galaxy.
Old Jedi Order
Dating back to the beginning of the order, the graduation ceremony involved the members of the high council (or one of the other councils, though only the high council could promote at the end of the republic). After the Jedi trials, a Padawan will go to the middle of the Tranquility Spire, where they meditate, searching for their future path.
The next day, the Padawan will be summoned to the next level, which is called the Hall of Knighthood. In a darkened chamber the Masters wait with ignited lightsabers while the Padawan kneels in the center of the room. Led by the Grand Master and joined by other masters and Jedi that helped the Padawan while learning, the circle will recite ancient passages from the traditional ceremony. The Grand Master will lower his or her lightsaber just above the Padawan’s shoulders and sever the Padawan braid for species that grow hair. The ceremony finished, the Padawan would collect his or her braid if applicable and exit the chamber in silence.
Sometimes emergencies overrode the standard tradition. During battles, when the Padawan could not return to the temple, or during extended missions, the master would knight the Padawan himself. The Council was also the one to promote a knight to the level of Master.
New Jedi Order
When Yoda died while training Luke Skywalker, it left Luke without a formal declaration of his Knighthood. As such, Luke did not initially continue the rite in the rebuilt Jedi Order. He proclaimed Padawans Jedi Knights after they completed battery of tests and building their own lightsaber. The proclamation was usually informal, in a conversation or informal gathering. Twenty-four years after the battle of Yavin Luke found the last remaining copy of The Jedi path: A Manual for Students of the Force, a guidebook from the Old Order with details about the knighting ceremony.
Luke devised his own graduation ceremony, more celebratory than the original, but with similar rituals. Later graduating students would be given a private audience with Skywalker, including a speech and formal robes. While they eschewed the tradition during the Yuuzhan Vong war, the Council again began the ceremony after it ended.
Thanks for ready, and happy graduation! Don’t forget to pick up your unique robes for your big day, and be sure to come back next week for more fun information!