The original version of this article first appeared in last week’s Manx Advertiser.
It’s an annual event when the illustrious politicians of the world’s oldest continuous parliament gather together and wonder why they’re under a canopy on a funny shaped hill, rather than in the comfort of their warm chamber, where it’s much easier to nod off undisturbed.
For one day only, Tynwald becomes a spectator sport (you cannot count the few regular attendees of the regular sittings of the Manx parliament as spectators, they come under the category of masochists).
Here to serve as always, we provide some facts about Tynwald Day that may not be as widely known as you’d imagine.
Top hats. The presence of these triumphant titfers upon the heads of the male members of Tynwald is not a throwback to traditional wear. It is to accommodate the larger heads necessary to contain the expanding egos of politicians.
Pipe bands. Being a member of a pipe band can be quite stressful. This usually ends up in a series of fallings out on a big occasion such as Tynwald Day with the result that, by nightfall, there’s only one piper left.
It never rains on Tynwald Day. This myth has often been put forward by various members caught up in the excitement of the occasion. It often rains on Tynwald Day, but on the scale of things, this mistruth is not the worst thing we’ve ever heard from a politician.
Church service. A major part of the Tynwald Day Ceremony is the church service, when the members of Tynwald are shut off from the reality of the outside world. Rather like most Tynwald sittings, in fact.
Independence. Tynwald Day is often seen as a celebration of the relative independence of the Isle of Man and its parliament in its status as a Crown Dependency. Obviously, if a member of the Royal Family wants to pop by for a cup of tea, that all goes out of the window.
Anybody fancy a pint? Don’t worry, even if you’re a fervent supporter of everything Manx, it’s okay to shuffle uncomfortably from one foot to another during the ceremony and wonder whether it gets any more interesting at any point.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @Norbertsdad