When: 5th July 2017, from 9am
Where: St John’s, Isle of Man
£: Free. Tickets for the Grandstand cost £4
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 Wednesday 5th July.
The Tynwald Day Ceremony is a unique open air parliamentary sitting, based on a traditional Viking assembly. The original gathering was an opportunity for people to come together to hear the new laws being read out. 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. In non-parliamentary speak, this means they are read out aloud to the people. If laws are not made known within 18 months of being made, they cease to have effect.
The Tynwald Day ceremony begins with a parade and a service at St John’s Chapel. This is followed by a procession to Tynwald Hill for the outdoor parliamentary gathering. The new Parliamentary Acts are read out by High Court Judges, known as ‘Deemsters’.
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. This can lead directly to new legislation being created.
Alongside the ceremony, Tynwald Day features a day of family entertainment to promote the rich heritage and diversity of the island. This year there will be Vikings, traditional music and dance, and craft workshops.
Entertainment on the front green, at Tynwald Hill, will include the Manx Folk Dance Society, street theatre from the Fairly Famous Family, the Isle of Man Wind Orchestra, and the Onchan Silver Band.
The TynwaldFest Tent will host craft workshops and Gena’s Dance Academy, while in the Chapel there will be traditional music and a lecture marking 600 years of the Customary Law Act. There will also be a One World Village at the Arboretum, celebrating the island’s international links.
To highlight the Isle of Man’s Viking past, there will be Vikings 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. The Viking village will have free demonstrations and weapon displays throughout the day, from 10am to 5pm.