You might think a diploma would be the main thing a graduate would receive. In Finland, however, at least for those who earn a Ph.D., there are two other important mementos of the occasion: a top hat and a sword.
The headgear is commonly known as a doctoral hat. Unlike the square “mortar board” hats used elsewhere, schools in Finland award a silken top hat, handmade to fit the head of the recipient. The hat typically includes a gold-colored metallic emblem of the university, and the color frequently represents the field of study of the graduate:
▪ Doctors of Fine Arts use dark blue;
▪ Doctors of Law use crimson;
▪ Doctors of Medicine and Dentistry use dark green;
▪ Doctors of Military Science use grey;
▪ Doctors of Music use sky blue;
▪ Doctors of Theology use purple;
- Doctors of Science (Technology) have the additional custom of wearing their top hats with an upturned brim.
In addition to the top hat, new Finnish doctoral graduates receive a sword. The sword represents the scholar’s fight for what he or she, though rigorous research, has found to be good, right, and true, according to the University of Oulu.
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