TYY's 100th Annual Ball

Academic Annual Ball etiquette


The annual balls are an important part of the student community and create communality among students. They are the most prestigious and one of the most important celebrations of the year of the student union. The Annual Ball of TYY is always organized during the closest weekend to Porthan Day.

Main points:

  • Please be on time to every part of the evening. The exceptional Annual Ball has a very long guest list and to ensure a smooth event, we wish all guests to arrive on time to the event and to your tables after a conference.

  • When the flags arrive and leave, everyone stands up

  • There is a toast aka “skåling” after each song:  first to the person sitting on the opposite to your right, next to the opposite to your left and thirdly to the person sitting opposite to you. Lastly, you can toast to your avec.

  • The Annual Ball consists of a cocktail event, a dinner party, and an after party. Dancing will begin after the dining, and after the dance the ball will continue with a more informal after party.

  • A three course meal is served in the Annual Ball. The guests will hear speeches, sing drinking songs and witness beautiful performances.

  • During the speeches and performances, guests should not converse, drink or eat. If you must leave the table, do it discreetly and not during the speeches and performances. The dinner party has two breaks.

  • When the ceremony master or the toast masters ask for a turn to speak, the guests must give them silence in the room.

  • The dinner card includes a certain amount of drinks, but during the conferences and the after party, guests can also buy more drinks from the venue bar.

  • Please be mindful of your company, and behave respectfully as well as naturally merrily.

The academic annual ball begins with an official cocktail event. The purpose of the event is to receive official greetings from organisations, stakeholders and other parties participating in the event. Sparkling beverages and cocktail bites are served during the event. The chairpersons of the board and the secretary general will be receiving the greetings. The ceremony master/the host will announce the parties giving the greetings to come forward and they have a few minutes to present the greetings. Simultaneously, the ceremony master/the host will announce the next party that is scheduled to present their greetings for them to be prepared. If you are not there to present greetings you can follow the event from the audience. The cocktail event is open to all annual ball guests but not a mandatory part of the annual ball.

The schedule of the cocktail event is tight as there are numerous parties that want to present their greetings. If you want to present greetings please let the event organizers know in advance and be at the venue well in time.

Main ball

The seating charts can be found outside the entrance to the ballroom. If you come with an avec please enter the ballroom together. Guests should not sit before they are given permission.

When other guests are still standing the ceremony master will announce the names of the persons sitting in the main table. They consist of guests of honour, the leadership of the student union and the university and other selected guests.

After the guests of the main table have arrived at the ballroom the flag of Finland and the Flag of the student union will be escorted in by the heralds. When the flags arrive at the ballroom, all the guests should be standing and facing the flags as they move through the ball room. After the flags have been brought in either Finlandia or Isänmaan Kasvot will be sung as is the tradition. After the song, the guests may be seated. When the Flags depart the song De Brevitate Vitae will be sung.

Program of the ball can be found from each seat. In addition to the program the leaflet also states the menu and lyrics to the songs. The program consists of welcome speech and other speeches, songs and possible honourable mentions. The ceremony master makes sure that everything flows according to plan and that every attendant knows what to do. When the ceremony master rises up and knocks the ceremonial staff to the floor, it is time for everyone in the ballroom to be quiet and pay attention to the program. This is important for the ball to remain dignified and the program flows on as planned. Using mobile devices should be avoided during the ball but taking photographs is of course allowed.

Drinking culture is part of academic etiquette. When the toast masters ring the bell all guests must quiet down and be prepared to sing a song. The songs are familiar from the Sitsi-culture and the toasting, or “skåling”, follows the same rules. After each song, the guests will toast in the following order: first you toast diagonally to the right with the person sitting on the opposite side of the table, then diagonally to the left and thirdly, to the person sitting right opposite to you. Lastly, you may toast to your avec sitting next to you.

The menu consists of three courses. There will be schnapps, wine and other drinks served with the food. You can start dining after the main table has begun and after food has been served to at least half of your table.

So called “conferences” are breaks during the program. During the conferences you may exit the ball room, for example to buy more drinks, socialize or use the restroom.

During the program and outside the conferences the guests are not permitted to rise from their seats. The annual ball is a dignified event and only moderate use of alcohol is suggested.

Dancing will begin after the dining. Each program has a dance card where the guests may reserve dances from each other.

After the dance the ball will continue with an after party. The after party is an unofficial event and the same strict etiquette does not apply. Late night snacks and drinks will be available during the after party as well as music and dance.

As a part of the annual ball traditions there will be a late brunch called “the herring breakfast” the day after the annual ball where a buffet style breakfast will be served.

Dress code

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 and in lieu of an evening gown a trouser suit may be worn. Academic medals or ribbons may also be worn. A white tie can also be replaced with a national costume or a so-called pre-historic costume (Finnish muinaispuku). Academic medals and ribbons are not worn with these however.

When wearing a tuxedo:

  • The tailcoat is not buttoned up but is closed with a rubber bad or left open

  • The tie used with a tuxedo is white

  • Only a pocket watch can be used with a tuxedo (not a wrist watch)

  • A white vest should be worn with a tailcoat and it should be visible from underneath the jacket (from the front)

When wearing an evening gown the length should be at least below the bone in the outer ankle. You may wear elbow high gloves with the gown.

Rings will be worn underneath the gloves and bracelets above the gloves. The purse should be small and should not have a strap.

When the dress is sleeveless, shoulders can be covered (with a scarf or a bolero etc.). Academic medals or ribbons should not touch bare skin.

In accordance with the etiquette, freely fluttering long hair does not belong to the annual ball. Hence, long hair should be festively tied.

More about academic medals and ribbons and how to wear them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAX4sskMFtE


Check the TYY's Anniversary Week celebrations here!