Festivities and traditions

The academic year is peppered with a variety of academic traditions and student events. Throughout the year, the University of Helsinki and its Student Union organize a wide variety of events and parties.
Academic year

One year at the University includes many events such as the opening ceremony of the academic year, Flora Day, graduation ceremonies, public examinations of doctoral thesisinaugural lectures of new professors and the University’s anniversary celebration.

The opening ceremony of the academic year is held in the University’s Great Hall on the first Monday of the first teaching period. In addition, the afternoon festivities of the opening day include an opening carnival collaboratively organised by the Student Union and the University. The University’s anniversary celebration is held in March, when the J. V. Snellman Award is presented to a member of the University community for outstanding efforts to disseminate scholarly knowledge.

The inaugural lectures of new professors are held twice per academic year, always close to the end of each term in December and May. May also sees the celebration of Flora Day, a joint celebration of spring for University students and staff alike. The faculties organise graduation ceremonies for their students at the end of the spring term, in addition to which some faculties also celebrate graduates at the end of the autumn term. 

Doctoral thesis projects culminate in public examinations where doctoral candidates publicly defend their research. The conferment ceremony is an event where the insignia associated with master’s and doctoral degrees are conferred on graduates in a formal conferral of degrees. Faculties organise conferment ceremonies according to varying cycles: some more often, others, for example, every four years. This year the University of Helsinki celebrates a Conferment Jubilee.

Events at the university