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A ribbon cutting ceremony is a public ceremony conducted to inaugurate the opening to the general public of a new building or business.
Often, the ceremony is conducted in just the manner the name suggests: by tying a ceremonial ribbon across the main entrance of the building, which is then cut in a ritual manner by a dignitary to declare the building open for business. Occasionally, however, the ribbon cutting is merely metaphorical.
Frequently, celebrity guests or local political leaders will be invited to do the honors and cut the ribbon, especially if the building is a public building, hospital, or similar public works. Ribbon cutting ceremonies are also conducted to open businesses, in which case it is likely that the owners or executives of the business will do the honors. In either case, members of the media will likely be invited to photograph or broadcast the staged event.
The scissors used in a ribbon cutting ceremony are frequently preserved by the institution as a keepsake.