This is Tynwald Day, the national day of the Isle of Man, in which the country’s parliament, the Tynwald, meets in ancient ceremony to promulgate all bills which have received the Royal Assent, and to hear petitions for redress.
“The observer at St. John's on 5th July, the Manx National Day, watches a ceremony which has continued unchanged, except in detail, for more than 1,000 years. The annual outdoor sittings of Tynwald, the Manx Parliament, date back to the Viking settlements which began in the eighth century of the first millennium AD. No other parliament in the world has such a long unbroken record.” Tynwald - Parliament of the Isle of Man - History
The ceremonies and processions take place at St. John’s, beginning with the inspection of the Guard of Honor and the laying of a wreath at the war memorial, followed by a religious service in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, and the great procession to Tynwald Hill where the laws are proclaimed. When the business of the day is finished, the Tynwald returns to St. John’s Chapel to sign documents attesting to the promulgation of the laws and to move all outstanding business to a subsequent date. (Wikipedia describes the ceremonies of the day at length.)
Then the real fun begins, for a day like this cannot go by without great celebration. Tynwald Day 2012, from the Tynwald website, lists the various entertainments that will be held today: dog agility trials, music of all kinds, folk dance, displays of Manx history, including a Living History encampment of Vikings, more music, tours, an exhibition of local artists, even more music, circus performances, Punch and Judy, and fireworks. Did I mention music? If you are anywhere near, go and enjoy. If not, check out the many web pages devoted to the Isle of Man, its culture, and its history.
|Isle of Man flag|
Artwork: Isle of Man website discusses the Manx flags here.