It's nearly that time of year again, when we all come together to celebrate our Manx National Day. In 2017 Tynwald celebrates the 600th anniversary of the passing of the Customary Laws in 1417, the very first written Act of Tynwald. This Act contains the earliest description of the Tynwald Day ceremony, the procedure for which has hardly changed in 600 years.
What is changing this year are the supporting activities after the ceremony, with the biggest change being the introduction of the new TynwaldFest stage. Located on the little Fairfield next to Cooil y Ree, the TynwaldFest tent and stage area will give additional space for activities, music, and refreshments. If the weather is wet, the TynwaldFest tent will keep everyone a little drier! Events start in the TynwaldFest tent at 10am when Sue Quilliam will be running family arts and crafts sessions and in the afternoon there will be performances by dancers from Gena’s Dance Academy. The tent will then be the main focus of events in the evening.
Family entertainment has always been a focus of afternoon events at St John’s and as always there is plenty of activity on the front green, including Onchan Silver Band, the Fairly Famous Family circus act, and 'The Grand Manx Dance' with Perree Bane, Skeddan Jiarg, and The Manx Folk Dance Society. Also returning this year is the popular One World Village, located in the Arboretum, featuring international cuisine and entertainment. Food and drink is available at various locations across the Fairfield and other locations, including the Bunscoill, the Methodist Hall, the Tynwald Inn, and Greens Café.
Elsewhere in St John’s, the Bunscoill is running a Children's Workshop by Yarny Grainne, the Viking Village will be set up in Cooil y Ree; on the back Fairfield the IOM Wind Orchestra will be performing as will Perree Bane and Friends. The Fairfield is also where you will find lots of stallholders selling local food and drink, arts and crafts, as well as stalls promoting local charities. The Manx Tent, previously known as the Homecomers’ Tent, will be positioned on the Fairfield this year next to the Tynwald Millennium Stone. The Manx Tent will showcase Manx groups and societies and is pleased to welcome Mannin Quilters, The Rock Project, CeltFest, Peel Heritage... to name just a few! Activities on the Fairfield, the Arboretum and down in the Viking Village are happening all day from 9am until 5pm; events in the Bunscoill start at 10am and continue until 4pm.
Culture Vannin will officially open their new building on the main road in St. John’s on Tynwald Day. Located inside the renovated old police station there will be exciting events set up for Tynwald Day and the launch of the new, permanent Tynwald exhibition. Culture Vannin will be open 9:30am to 4:30pm and welcome visitors all year round – including Tynwald Day!
After the Tynwald ceremony has taken place, the Chapel will host a number of events. From 1:30pm it will be the venue to hear music from Celtic accordionist Jamie Smith, followed by Manx music duo Ruth Keggin and Malcolm Stitt, the Castletown Metropolitan Silver Band, and the Regal Singers.
To mark the 600th anniversary of Customary Law in the Isle of Man, we are also pleased to invite everyone to a public lecture at 3pm in the Chapel on ‘Legal Hybridity and the Birth of Manx Customary Law: The 1417 and 1422 Proceedings of the Court’. Our guest lecturer from Harvard, Joe Wolf, will discuss the uniqueness of Manx law as a hybrid of three distinct legal traditions (Scandinavian, Celtic, and English), as well as the social and legal value of recording customary law. The introduction to the lecture will be from our special Tynwald guest, Lord Derby, whose ancestors ruled over the Island during the period of the introduction of Customary Law.
Isle of Man Stamps and Coins have designed a commemorative stamp sheet, Tynwald Day 600, to mark the 600th anniversary showcasing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's royal visits to the Island surrounded by images of the Tynwald Ceremony through the ages. Culture Vannin will be selling limited edition sets of the latest collection signed by the President of Tynwald, the Hon Steve Rodan MLC. Outside the new Culture Vannin building there will be a special post box where any letters posted will have a special Tynwald Day 600 postmark created by Isle of Man Post Office.
As the afternoon events conclude, the TynwaldFest tent will be the main focus of events, with two live bands on stage and local artisan producers Noa Bakehouse, the Manx Cider Company and Ballakarran Lamb selling Manx food and drink. The evening entertainment will start with Anglo-Manx folk group Birlinn Jiarg, featuring Manx whistle virtuoso Becky Hurst, from 5pm and infamous Island-based soul funk group Retrospect from 6.30pm. The traditional Ceili will be held from 8pm, with the well-known Kipper Ceili band getting people up and dancing. We are also pleased to welcome back the Ellan Vannin Pipe Band, who will be bringing the day to a close with a performance on Tynwald Hill.
Tynwald Day Enhancements co-ordinator Gráinne Joughin explains: ‘In addition to everything that happens on the day, we have introduced the new TynwaldFest stage to bring everyone together towards to end of the day to celebrate as a community in the best way we know how...with good food, good drink and good music! The whole idea behind the new stage is to make Tynwald Day more inclusive, something for everyone. I want to create that vibe, similar to what you find in Europe where the community all come together... That’s the concept behind it.’
The President of Tynwald, the Hon Steve Rodan MLC, said: “I hope the public will fully celebrate our National Day by coming to St. John’s to witness our ancient ceremony and the exciting new festivities in the evening.”
Come one and come all to Tynwald Day 2017 - Tar-jee ooilley dys laa Tynvaal 2017