When: 7th July 2014, from 10am
Where: St John’s, Isle of Man
£: Free. Grandstand tickets for the Ceremony cost £4 and must be purchased in advance.
What is it?
The Tynwald Day Ceremony takes place every year on the Isle of Man. Tynwald, a word of Norse origin, is the parliament of the Isle of Man. This year’s ceremony takes place on Monday 7th July.
The Tynwald Day Ceremony is unique as it is the only open air parliamentary sitting, based on the tradition of the Viking Thing (in other words a Viking assembly). The original gathering was an opportunity for all the people to come together to hear the new laws, as before widespread literacy there was no other way to make this information known.
This tradition continues today as the laws made the previous year are promulgated in both English and Manx. If laws are not promulgated within 18 months of being made they in fact cease to have effect. No other parliament in the world has such a long unbroken record as these annual outdoor Tynwald sittings.
The day begins with a parade, followed by a service at St John’s Chapel. This is followed by a procession to Tynwald Hill for the outdoor parliamentary gathering. At the ceremony any person may approach the hill and present a Petition for Redress. Rather uniquely, this means any person can draw attention to a matter that they feel is important and this can lead to new legislation being created. This year’s proceedings will draw to a close with the Ellan Vannin Pipes and Drums playing on Tynwald Hill at 10.30pm.
This year, to highlight the Isle of Man’s Viking past, there will be Vikings gathering in St John’s over Tynwald Day weekend and setting up camp in Cooil y Ree. This will give visitors the opportunity to learn about the Vikings’ way of life, from the weapons they used to the clothes they wore and the food they ate. Visitors will also be able to hear accounts of Viking sagas and, on Tynwald Hill on Tynwald Day, there will be a re-enactment of what the original ‘Thing’ or assembly might have been like.
The Viking Encampment will be free for visitors to enter and will be open on Sunday 6th July from 1pm to 7pm, and on Monday 7th July from 10am to 5pm.
More info: www.tynwald.org.im