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 other festivities. The promovendi may also participate in the ceremony solo, in which case the Conferment Committee 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, 13 May 2022, and the ceremony proper will take place on 19-21 May 2022. Below you will find a walkthrough of the ceremony’s programme.
Eat well before each event, especially before the Conferment act. It might also be a good idea to carry with you some snacks for easy energy. Remember also to drink water, especially if the weather is warm.
If you for some reason can not attend, please inform the Conferment secretary firstname.lastname@example.org, 050 475 8472. On the Conferment week use a text message and include your name in the message.
Conferment is a cheerful but at the same time a solemn event. Please use alcohol with caution, so that you have the energy to attend the many days of the Conferment.
Arrive on time. The schedule has starting times for each event, but it is a good idea to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier to avoid queues and have some time to prepare for each event.
Please note that it is not allowed to take pictures during the conferment act on Friday. You should also honour the festive nature of other events as well and take photographs only when it is appropriate. During the whole conferment ceremony, there will be a professional photographer who is in charge of capturing all important moments.
Before going to each event, please check the dress code carefully.
Most important of all is to have fun and enjoy this one-of-a-kind event!
Flower’s Day, Friday 13 May
Choosing the Official Wreathweaver in the Assembly
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 to woo the chosen child to accept this honourable task.
Schedule for Flower’s day
- 12.00-13.00 Flower’s Day celebration on the field of Kumtähti with other Faculties’ Conferment
- 13.30-16.30 Flower’s day lunch
Preliminary Wreathweaving Tuesday 17 May
Promovendi who wish to weave their own wreaths or promovendi without an avec can attend Preliminary Wreathweaving at Nylands Nation (Kasarmikatu 40) 17th of May from 4pm to 9pm. Please, note the location change!
Wreathweaving and Swordwhetting, Thursday 19 May 2022
Conferment Act Rehearsal
The Promovendi and their avecs rehearse the choreographies on the day before the Conferment Act. Participating in the rehearsal is essential for all promovendi and their avecs. The Doctor promovendi arrive directly to the Act Rehearsal and leave just before the Masters in order to proceed to the Swordwhetting.
In Wreathweaving the wreathweawers of the Master promovendi, i.e. the companions, prepare the laurel wreath for the promovendi under the Official Wreathweaver’s guidance. The Wreathweaving takes place in conjunction with the Act rehearsal: wreathweawers move there straight from the act rehearsal.
The laurel wreaths are needed in the Conferment Act, where the Conferrer confers each of the master promovendi in turn by placing the wreaths on promovendi’s heads. 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.
After the master promovendi are finished with the rehearsal, they will join the avecs in wreathweawing.
The Doctors’ swords need to be sharpened before the Conferment Act. The Swordswhetting is normally immediately after the Act Rehearsal. In this event, the Doctor promovendi’s companions, the swordwhetters, spin a grindstone and the promovendi whet their swords. Traditionally during the event, the Doctors promovendi say a few celebratory words. To ensure a successful whetting, the grindstone is continuously basted with sparkling wine, the liquid manifestation of the spirit of the ceremony.
Wreathweaving and Swordwhetting Banquet Dinner
After the Wreathweaving and the Swordwhetting, the promovendi proceed to a banquet dinner with their companions.
Schedule for Wreathweaving and Swordwhetting day
- 13.30 Conferment Act Rehearsal – promovendi and their companions gather in Assembly Hall of the university’s Main building and practice the choreography of the act (entrance: Aleksanterinkatu 5). The wreathweavers leave to the Wreathweaving.
- 14.30 Wreathweaving – wrethweavers weave the wreaths for the masterpromovendi. Masterpromovendi join their wreathweavers after the Conferment Act Rehearsal (Unicafe Metsätalo, Fabianinkatu 39)
- 15.00 Swordwhetting – doctor promovendi sharpen their swords and the swordwhetters spin the grindstone. Doctors go to the Swordwhetting directly from the Act Rehearsal (Kansalliskirjasto, Unioninkatu 36)
- 17.00 Rector’s reception for the doctors
- 19.00 Wreathweaving and Swordwhetting Banquet evening gathering at White hall (Aleksanterinkatu 16–18).
Conferment Act, Friday 20 May 2022
The Conferment Act
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 doctoral and the master seremonial questions and answers are heard, and the promovendi are conferred with their academic status, as are honorary doctors selected by the faculty. Masters and doctors conferred in the ceremony of 1971 receive the honorary title of Jubilee Master and Jubilee Doctor, respectively. The closest family members and the loved ones of the promovendi are welcome to attend the event as spectators.
Near and dear ones at the Conferment act
Welcome to the Conferment act! It is wonderful that you can attend this festive event with us!
- Entry to the Assembly hall from 10am onwards, entrance is at Aleksanterinkatu 5, accessible entrance is at Yliopistonkatu 5 (from the inner court).
- The doors of the Assembly hall are closed at 10.45am, entry after that is not possible. It is important to be on time!
Dress code for guests is white tie (with black west) or dark suit with black shoes or long-sleeved, non-décollété black full-length gown with black shoes.
The exit from the Assembly hall is done as a procession. If you do not wish to attend the church service or the secular service, one must exit the procession in the atrium before stepping out of the building. Outside it is not possible to leave the procession to take photos etc. For guests the Conferment Act ends around 3pm. There is a cloakroom at the Aleksanterinkatu entrance. Leave all your belongings to the cloakroom and don’t bring bags or coats to the Assembly hall.
It is not permitted to take photos during the Act. There is a video stream that people who are not attending the Act can watch.
Ecumenical Church Service
After the Conferment Act the participants move in procession to an ecumenical church service at Helsinki Cathedral. The church service is given by a preacher chosen specificially for the event.
Instead of the church service, the promovendi may choose to take part in the secular service. The secular service takes place at the same time as the church service and the procession is the same to both services. The secular service consists of speeches and musical performances.
After the Conferment festives, a solemn banquet dinner is held.
Schedule for Conferment Act day
- 10.00 Promovendi and the guests arrive at the University’s Main building (Aleksanterinkatu 5) well ahead
- 11.00 Conferment Act in the Assembly Hall – the tradition is hundreds of years old
- 14.00 Ceremonial procession – red carpet and the bells of the Cathedral ringing!
- around 14.00–15.15 Ecumenical Church Service or Secular Service. Directly after the procession. After the Church Service and Secular Service the procession goes back to the main building
- 18.00 Banquet Dinner at the Pikku-Finlandia (Karamzininranta 4). Sparkling wine is served at 18 and after the wine, starts the Dinner at the tables
Conferment Sail and Ball Day, Saturday 21 May 2022
Recovering from the exertions imposed by the Conferment Act necessitates an informal gathering in the Conferment Sail Excursion. Day consists of enjoying good company and beautiful milieu.
After the sail excursion, clothes are changed and there are preparations for the evening’s Ball.
Dinner and Ball
The 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. Among the dances, buffet dinner is enjoyed, and some speeches are held. The evening formally concludes after the Conferrer leaves at midnight, but the night continues with a procession in Helsinki’s summer night.
Nocturnal procession and breakfast
After the ball, the night continues with a procession around Helsinki. During the procession, speeches are given, and nocturnal surprises are encountered. The procession ends with greetings to the rising sun in the early hours of the following morning. Following sunrise, the participants proceed to breakfast, which concludes the celebrations.
Schedule for Conferment Sail and Ball day
- 9.30 Boat trip to the Helsinki archipelago with promovendi and avecs. (Arrive at the Keisarinluodonlaituri near the Kolera Basin in Kauppatori)
- 12.00–15.00 Lunch disco at Täffä (Otakaari 22)
- 18.00 Guests begin to arrive at the Old Student House (Mannerheimintie 3).
- 19.00 Ball begins. The master’s contra dance française, doctoral polonaise and the ball dances
- around 21.30 Dinner is served
- around 0.00 the Conferrer departs with a sword procession
- During the night: Night procession visits the statues of Helsinki, holds speeches and spreads the Conferment spirit in the summer night
- around 4.30 the procession arrives at the morning afterparty and herring breakfast