The annual ball is the most prestigious event of the student union, which is apparent throughout the event in the dress code, etiquette and the ballroom dance at the end of the main event.
The most important thing during an annual ball is to enjoy oneself. Here are some basic details to remember, however:
- You may attend the annual ball without a date
- Being late at the annual ball is considered extremely rude, so make sure to be on time
- You may not bring your own beverages to the dinner
Course of the Event
The annual ball begins with the cocktail party. During the cocktail party the student union receives greetings from invited guests (please inform us of your greeting at the time of your enrolment). In addition to the welcome toast, there usually is a musical performance at the cocktail party! We continue onwards to the main event together by pre-arranged transportation.
The main event of the annual ball is a dinner that consists of a three-course meal and special programme. The dinner lasts for approximately five hours. Especially during dinner it is important to remember proper and dignified manners, listen to the programme and pay attention to your company. The toastmaster makes sure that everything flows according to plan and that every attendant knows what to do.
The event begins with the arrival of the flags and the main entourage. Everyone has a predetermined seat in the ballroom. You will find the handbill by which to follow the course of the event at your own seat. On the back of the handbill there is a dance card, where everyone may reserve their dance partners during the ballroom dance at the end of the main event.
Should you feel so inclined, you may hold a short speech before the dance. If you wish to do this, you should inform the toastmaster of your intentions in advance. The toastmaster gives the signal to speak to those who wish to do so.
There is bus transportation from the main event to the after party.
After Party and the Academic Herring Breakfast
The after party and the herring breakfast (silliaamiainen, or sillis in Finnish) are naturally much more informal than the main event, and there is no proper etiquette to follow. Even though you may take out your tie or throw away your high heels during the after party, you should remember to be polite and cordial, and to pay attention to your company. The herring breakfast is a long tradition that is surrounded by much secrecy and mystery. Let it be known, that the herring breakfast is more or less like the bacchanalia of Roman times. White tie is therefore not a required dress code during the herring breakfast. There is a small supper served during after party. The herring breakfast includes a brunch, morning sauna and other exciting things.
The seats are predetermined during the main event. As you enter the main event, be sure to check your seats by the ballroom door. A gentleman should always escort his lady to the table and help her get seated on the right side of him.
The toastmaster is in charge of the course of the event. When the toastmaster rises up and knocks the ceremonial staff to the floor, it is time for everyone in the ballroom to be quiet. Talking with your tableside company is encouraged, but one should never shout to people seated in different tables. The official programme is to be followed attentively and quietly.
It is not proper to leave one’s table other than during a conference (a predetermined pause or break). If you must leave your table before such break, you should appologise to the people seated next to you and avoid making too much noise. When a lady rises from her seat, it is proper for the gentleman to rise up as well and help her with her chair.
The proper dress at an annual ball is a white tie for men and evening gown for women. In lieu of a white tie, a dark lounge suit may also be worn. Academic medals or ribbons may also be worn.