Well, today a factual post instead of poetry or fiction. I live on the Isle of Man, for those who don’t know, it’s a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea in the British Isles. Its status is as a Crown Dependency with its own government, reputed to be the longest unbroken government in the world, instigated by the Vikings over 1000 years ago.
The date of the celebration is nominally 5th July, this year the event is held on 7th July. The venue is Tynwald Hill, the seat of the ancient Viking leadership, a small hill said to include soil from all 17 of the islands parishes, and the day is one of general celebration with a fair, market stalls, creative workshops and side shows around the venue. This year is Island of Culture 2014 and the day will play host to performers keeping alive the tradition of Manx music, along with visiting musicians from Germany and Menorca. Late in the evening the Ellan Vannin Pipe Band will bring a musical close to the proceedings.
The ceremonial side is formal, though not without its lighter moments, this year’s President’s Tynwald Day quiz will challenge people’s powers of observation and knowledge of Viking runes! The mainstay of the ceremony itself is the reading of bills that have received the Royal Assent which are promulgated on Tynwald Day; any Act of Tynwald which is not so promulgated within 18 months of passage ceases to have effect. Other proceedings include the presentation of petitions and the swearing in of certain public officials. Prior to the sitting of Tynwald a procession takes place. The individual presiding inspects the Guard of Honour and lays a wreath at the National War Memorial, which was inaugurated in 1923. A foreign head of state attending the ceremony may accompany the Lieutenant Governor, as HM The King of Norway did in 2002.
At eleven o’clock, Tynwald convenes in the Chapel of St John the Baptist for a religious service. Thereafter, they proceed to the adjacent Tynwald Hill. The path is strewn with rushes, the tradition is traceable to the Celtic custom of propitiating the sea god Manannan by offering bundles of rushes on Midsummer’s Eve. The path is lined with numerous flagpoles, which fly both the red national flag and the blue parliamentary flag.
Generally, I don’t attend the ceremony as I’m not that way inclined and this year, at that time, I will be sailing up to Scotland on my yacht for a 3 week vacation! 🙂
For more information and pictures;