The Nobel Foundation, which organizes the annual Nobel Prizes has declared that the traditional public ceremony called the Nobel banquet conducted every December has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expects it to be in a new form this year.
This is the first time since 1956 that the public function, banquet has been canceled.
“The Nobel week will not be as it usually is due to the current pandemic. This is a very special year when everyone needs to make sacrifices and adapt to completely new circumstances,” Lars Heikensten, director of the Nobel Foundation, said in a statement.
Mr. Heikensten continued that the laureates would be highlighted in “different ways” along with “their discoveries and works”.
The lavish Nobel Banquet traditionally marks the end of the so-called Nobel Week in December, when the year’s prize winners are invited to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden for talks and the award ceremony.
Housed in Stockholm’s City Hall, the winners, together with the Swedish royal family and some 1,300 guests are treated to a multi-course dinner and entertainment. The winners, with the exception of the Peace Prize laureates who are honored in Oslo, the capital of Norway also traditionally give a speech during this dinner.
The announcement of the prizes (Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, then Economics) will still be held between 5 and 12 October with the award ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on December 10 expected to be held in “new forms”.
The Nobel banquet was last canceled in 1956 to avoid inviting the Soviet ambassador because of the repression of the Hungarian Revolution. The event was also canceled during the two world wars and in 1907 and 1924.