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Alfred Nobel (1833-96), Swedish chemist and inventor, pictured circa 1750
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It’s been months since the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was announced as the winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, but in the intervening weeks they’ve been laureates in name only: Thursday is the day on which the honorees will actually receive the Nobel medal and have a chance to deliver a Nobel lecture.

That date is no coincidence. Ever since the first Nobel prizes were awarded in 1901, they have been conferred on Dec. 10. The first ceremony took place five years to the day after Nobel died, and it has since become what the Nobel Committee calls an “established tradition.”

The date was one of the very few instructions for the prizes that Nobel didn’t specify in his will, as TIME has explained before:

Read more about the history of the Nobel Prize:

The Tragic Nobel Peace Prize Story You’ve Probably Never Heard

Why a Nobel Peace Prize Was Once Rejected

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Lily Rothman at

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