Place your right hand over your heart

As part of the oath ceremony, assuming you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness, or a paid-up member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you’ll probably stand and sing the national anthem. Since the Constitution doesn’t mandate the separation of church and state (it’s complicated, but if you check out the Supreme Court, you’ll see that the main aims of the Constitution are to avoid the favoring of one religion or a lack of religion by the State), there will be some ceremonial deism in the song. Which means you’ll sing about God, since the US was founded based on principals that there are some inalienable rights given to men by a Supreme Being.

Wikimedia Commons: Author: Mikael Häggström

And you’ll put your right hand over your heart. Looking at the diagram above, you’ll see that the heart in an adult male is:

  • fairly central in the chest
  • above the nipples
  • below the clavicles
  • an empty muscle
  • the way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach. Unless you’re an incubating alien.

So make sure to put your right hand somewhere in that vicinity.

The girl in the pink skirt is most accurate in her hand placement
Naturalization Not on the test

What to Wear at the Oath Ceremony

Hooray – you’ve passed your Naturalization test, and you’ve been called for your oath ceremony. But wait!

In big underlined capital letters on the hard to read purple invitation, it says


Yes, it really is in all CAPS. They really want you to pay attention to what your fans wear at this solemn and meaningful event. So you have to dress in proper attire. The dignity of the event must be respected. It even clearly states, no jeans, shorts or flip flops. Even in Austin, TX, where proper attire normally means you just have your genitals either covered up or painted.

But what does it mean? In the formal wear of your home nation? Mu-mus and baskets of fruit on your head and so on may be de rigeur back home, but in America, I think it means something like khaki pants and a polo neck. Shudder. Or a little black dress if you’re a man.

Surely if it says no nut-hugging jean shorts nor flippy floppies – the only named exclusions – does that mean anything else goes – unitards, tiaras, EL-wire butterfly wings and cod-pieces.

I’ve never seen Coming to America: outfits shown here,


but I have seen this:

captain hook
Please hold up your right, and only hand

Also, checking out related posts on immigration portal about what to wear, it seems the consensus is somewhere between “your best clothes”, “a floral dress”, and “nothing too sexy.” Looking at this crowd shot of an oath ceremony, I would say “butt hugging” seems to be recommended. And if you are going to wear a hook, do it in place of your left hand.