The degree ceremony emphasizes the high value of education. In the Finnish language, the word for the Ceremonial Conferment of Degrees is "promootio" from the Latin "promovere", to move forwards, to make an advance, to promote. In the degree ceremony, those who have completed their doctoral degree, formally receive the insignia associated with the doctoral status: the hat, the robe and the diploma. The insignia are also bestowed upon 14 distinguished individuals who are designated as Honorary Doctors.
Many traditions of the Finnish academic community today are deeply rooted in the history of the Academia Aboensis, the university founded in Turku in 1640 by the Swedish Queen Christina. As stated in its founding charter, the new Academia was to be modelled on the medieval Uppsala University. However, the traditions followed in Uppsala are modelled on even more ancient academic ceremonies which originated in Bologna and Paris in the 13th century. This tradition, now largely forgotten elsewhere, still flourishes in Finland in all its central features.
The first degree ceremony of Finland was held in 1643 when ten Candidates of Philosophy were awarded the Master's degree. The first ceremony in which Doctor's degrees were awarded took place in 1781. After the great fire of Turku in 1827, the Academia Aboensis was transferred to Helsinki and renamed the Imperial Alexander University.