I have a question for all of you.
Where did the custom of robes likely with square hat and tassel being warn at a "commencement" ceremony where someone walks across a stage, shakes a hand and gets a piece of paper come from?
I think it is largely a western/European tradition. I could be wrong, and i could be very off base as to what this ceremony was like.
To me if it is largely a "western" ceremony that has been adapted/adopted, western rules of etiquette apply.
If it is some other style of ceremony, maybe they wear bikinis and hop scotch backwards across a river and receive a rock, i don't know, just not a western style of commencement, then that style of etiquette should trump.
Likewise I wonder what is older, the dance of the commencement ceremony. It seems that if the dance is older to apply to great accomplishments, then how and when it is used in tandem with a new ritual would be open to interpretation and somewhat fluid. I suspect the dance is older and someone somewhere along the line decided that graduation was a good time to do it. Which is fine, but deciding it has to be done as the person's name is called is a choice made when deciding how to blend the two. Choosing to do this ritual at a time, and in a manner and for a length of time that inconveniences others, and violates the established rules is rude.
Now granted maybe educational commencement ceremonies have been in their culture for a long time and they are older and we should defer to them. But it sounds more like an ancient ritual that is being applied to a modern situation. I am all for a blend of old and new, but when you do the blending, you should be cognizant of the rules and decorum of the new, so as to blend the old into it in a manner that preserves the old, but does not detract from, or hurt, the new, or otherwise becomes rude according the standards of the new you are blending to.
I do think there are times when honoring your culture can still be rude. I had a friend who's father was Native American (Disclaimer: I have asked on this before and no one has heard of this etiquette rule or custom, so i am not trying to insult Native Americans, most people think he was off his rocker. I am however stating what culture he was a part of in case someone here recognizes something that helps it to make sense of what happened, as i would be interested in learning more). He was sent an invite to her wedding, and never sent back the RSVP. Later she asked him if he was coming (they were a bit estranged) and he informed her that "Native Americans (I think he used Indian if anyone cares) not RSVP, they either come or they don't" That might be his culture but it is still rude. It seems to be that if that really is the case the polite thing to do would be to say that you can not plan to attend, so you will not attend. Or something to that effect. Refusing to find some balance between modern logistics and culture does strike me as rude. (and again, i have no idea if this is real of if he was being a smart alec, If anyone knows anything i am happy to learn)