On this page you’ll find information on the events and programme of the Conferment Ceremony. Dress codes and information on promovendi’s academic insignia can be found on dedicated pages. If you can’t find an answer to your question on these pages or in the FAQ, please feel free to contact the Conferment Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conferment Ceremony Programme
As a rule, the promovendi will participate in the ceremony with their spouse, partner or other companion, who will also be their wreathweaver (Master promovendi) or swordwhetter (Doctor promovendi). The companions will also accompany the promovendi in the dinners and ball. The promovendi may also participate in the ceremony solo, in which case the Official Wreathweaver will take care of weaving the Master’s wreath and the Head Marshal of sharpening a Doctor’s sword.
Details on the programme and schedules of the Conferment Ceremony will be updated to this website as they are confirmed. The first event will be held on Flower’s Day, 13th of May, and the ceremony proper will take place on 26-28 May. Below you will find a walkthrough of the ceremony’s programme.
Flower’s Day, 13 May
In a Latin-language assembly organised on Flower’s Day morning, the Conferment Committee chooses the Official Wreathweaver. The chosen person is the child of one of the faculty’s professor and is traditionally of marriageable age. The Official Wreathweaver’s essential task is to assist the Master promovendi’s companions (wreathweavers) in preparing the laurel wreaths for the promovendi. After the assembly, a group of promovendi will make their way to the professor’s house in order to woo the chosen child to accept this honourable task.
More details on Flower’s Day’s programme to follow.
Wreathweaving and Swordwhetting, 26 May
In this event taking place at the University’s main buiding in conjunction with the Act rehearsal, the companions of the Master promovendi, i.e. the wreathweavers, prepare the laurel wreaths for the promovendi under the Official Wreathweaver’s guidance. In the Conferment Act on the following day the Conferrer confers the master promovendi by placing the wreath on their heads, and the newly conferred masters will wear their wreaths during the following dinner and ball. The Conferment Committee will prepare the wreaths of those promovendi participating alone.
Conferment Act Rehearsal
The Promovendi rehearse the choreographies and procession of the Conferment Act taking place the following day. Participating in the rehearsal is mandatory for all promovendi. Doctor promovendi begin their day with the rehearsal and continue on to the swordwhetting.
The Doctors’ swords need to be sharpened before the Conferment Act. In this event, the Doctor promovendi’s companions, the swordwhetters, spin a grindstone and the promovendi whet their swords. To ensure a successful whetting, the grindstone is continuously basted with sparkling wine, the liquid manifestation of the spirit of the ceremony.
Once the day’s work is done, the promovendi proceed to a banquet dinner with their companions.
Conferment Act, 27 May
The Conferment, or bestowment of the academic status of Master and Doctor to the promovendi, will take place in the Great Hall of the University of Helsinki. The Conferment Act begins with a procession of the promovendi, their companions and the guests. During the Act, the promovendi are conferred with their academic status, as are honorary doctors selected by the faculty. Masters and doctors conferred in the ceremony of 1966 receive the honorary title of Jubilee Master and Jubilee Doctor, respectively. Family and loved ones of the promovendi are welcome to attend the event as spectators.
After the Conferment Act the participants move in procession to a church service at Helsinki Cathedral. The service is given by a preacher chosen for the event.
Instead of church service, the promovendi may choose to take part in the secular service taking place at the same time. The secular service consists of speeches and musical performances.
In the afternoon, the Conferment Committee and any willing promovendi assemble at the Hietaniemi Cemetery to honour the veterans and notable persons from previous Conferment Ceremonies by giving speeches and laying wreaths.
In the evening, a banquet dinner is held in honor of the newly-conferred promovendi.
Picnic and Ball, 28 May
Recovering from the exertions imposed by the Conferment Act necessitates an informal gathering in the fresh outdoor air. Details concerning the picnic will be updated here later.
Dinner and Ball
A traditional ball is held on the evening following the day of the Conferment Act. In addition to other ballroom dances the Masters will dance the well-rehearsed Masters’ contra dance whereas the Doctors dance Doctors’ polonaise. The evening formally concludes with the Conferrer leaving, but the night continues with a procession in the summer night.
Nocturnal procession and breakfast
After the ball, the night continues with a procession around the city, during which speeches are given. The procession ends with greetings to the rising sun in the early hours of the following morning. Following sunrise, a breakfast concludes the celebrations.