A continuum for a previous post titled “How thesis is defended in Finland”
So, after the public defense it is time to have the post-defense party called Karonkka, which is usually held in the evening of the defense day. Officially Karonkka is organized in the honor of the Opponent, but in reality it is a party for the Candidate to celebrate finishing the thesis. The party usually starts between 6-8 pm and the location for the party can be anything from a restaurant to your own home. The traditional dress code for the party is usually a black suit for men and long evening dress for women. Black colour is often favored in the dresses, especially in the Opponent’s and Candidate’s dresses.
In the past, Karonkka parties have had strict protocols to follow. For instance, there have been times when one could invite only other doctors to the party. Luckily for us, times have changed and these days it is common to invite also your family and friends as well as other members of the academic community to join the celebration. Along with the Opponent and Custos, other people who you should definitely invite include supervisors of your thesis as well as the co-authors of your thesis articles. It is also polite to invite your thesis reviewers and any other people who have contributed to your work.
During Karonkka the Candidate offers dinner, drinks and possible other entertainment to the guests. The party usually starts with a welcoming toast after which people will sit to their dinner tables. The Candidate is naturally the host or hostess of the party. According to traditions, the Candidate is seated in the middle of his/her dinner table. The Opponent is seated on the right side and the Custos is seated on the left side of the Candidate. The other guests will then follow, often according to the order of their academic merits. The Candidate’s spouse is seated opposite to the Candidate.
Official “thank you” speeches are given during dinner, usually between the main course and the dessert. The first speech is given by the Candidate. The speech begins by thanking the Opponent for examining the doctoral thesis and defense. Then the Candidate thanks the Custos. After this the Candidate can address any people he/she wants, usually the supervisors, co-authors and the people who helped during the thesis process. Also family, friends and spouse are addressed. The next speech will be given by the Opponent and the third speech will be held by the Custos. After this all the people, who were addressed in the Candidate’s speech, can give their own speeches in the same order in which they were mentioned by the Candidate.
After the dinner has been eaten and speeches have been given, the program can continue according to the Candidates wishes. There might be music performances, dancing etc. As the defense parties are becoming less and less formal, there might even be a sauna for the party people. Just like in Mariana’s Karonkka last October!
Overall, the whole thesis defense day as well as the Karonkka party are one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that one will not easily forget.