The Flower’s Day, on May 13th dawned almost surreal sunny and warm after the snowy week of May. Maybe it was the magic touch of the official wreath-weaver, or the weather fairy’s softened by Pekka Pouta’s tragicomic weather forecast. Besides the sunny day of spring, the Flower’s Day was the first glimpse of the Conferment Ceremony and the other participants.
The day started with a meeting of master promovendi on the Kumpula campus, where the official wreath-weaver was elected after the traditions. Soon at the Finnish Meteorological Institute echoed the latin words: Aplaudimus, aplaudimus, aplaudimus! – and the official wreath-weaver was chosen. Procession to the Kumpula Garden to propose the newly elected wreath-weaver was succesful. Daughter of the academy professor Timo Vesala, candidate for the matriculation examination of Alppila high school, Jemina Kauristie agreed to the task of the official wreath-weaver of the Conferment Ceremony. After some flowers and the serenades, the brave new official wreath-weaver was introduced to the crowd in the front yard of the Kumpula mansion.
Choosing the official wreath-weaver is a Finnish speciality in the conferment traditions. The official wreath-weaver has been chosen by the master promovendi since 1832, when the chosen one was daughter of history professor I. H. Avellan, Ida Avellan. Usually the official wreath-weaver is a child of a professor, but history has also proved the offspring of statesmen as wreath-weavers. Both daughter of C. G. E. Mannerheim and Urho Kekkonen’s granddaughter have been chosen as official wreath-weavers.
Gratista Mari Lehtoruusu elucidates the background of this spring’s choice. –Choosing the official wreath-weaver is usually homage to their parent. Timo Vesala is a constructor of the university community who is known by students as an approachable and nice teacher, tells Mari. Conferment Ceremony first timer, professor of meteorology Vesala himself is very flattered by his choice because it is specifically a credit from the students.
The official wreath-weaver of this spring tells that she felt a little bit confused in the beginning. –I didn’t know what the Conferment Ceremony is, not to mention what the official wreath-weaver does. I was excited as soon as my father clarified a little bit what was all about, tells Jemina. The new official wreath-weaver prepares her task by reading books about previous Ceremonies, and asking advice from her predecessor. –Also the dance rehearsals and writing a speech belong to preparation, adds Jemina. The official wreath-weaver takes part in both the master’s contredanse française and the guest polonaise.
What else does the official wreath-weaver do at the Conferment Ceremony, besides dancing? The symbolic role is to represent spring, youth, and believing in future. Even though the role is today mainly ceremonial, the task is still to advice in fabricating of the wreaths the help of the previous official wreath-weavers. Besides the Flower’s Day, the official wreath-weaver honored on the Conferment Excursion, which traditionally takes place as a cruise as thanks for the official wreath-weaver. Choosing the official wreath-weaver is an important part of the continuation of the conferment traditions, because they carry the title for the rest of their lives, and can participate in the future Conferment Ceremonies as a popular guest of honor.
The pre wreath-weaving workshop is held on Wednesday 24th May on Ostrobotnia, and the wreath-weaving workshop on Thursday 25th May on Casa Academica.
Text Anna Hyödynmaa / Photos Sam Weckman