Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Tynwald Day 2017: Thousands celebrate the Isle of Man's national day

Tynwald Day Image copyright Mark Edwards
Image caption Thirteen pieces of legislation were presented and discussed during this year's Tynwald Day

Thousands of people have gathered in St John's to celebrate Tynwald Day - the Isle of Man's national day.

The only day of the year when parliament is held outdoors, Tynwald Day also gives the public a chance to present petitions to their politicians.

Tynwald president Steve Rodan said the day is a "hugely important occasion" in which the Isle of Man can "assert its national identity".

This year marks the 600th anniversary of the Customary Law Act.

Referred to as the Constitution of Old Time, this customary law set out a practice originally established by the Vikings on the Isle of Man about 1,000 years ago.

Mr Rodan said the act, set out by the then Lord of Man Sir John Stanley II in 1417, is responsible for the creation of Tynwald Day itself.

Image copyright Mark Edwards
Image caption Celebrations also included traditional Manx music and dance

The anniversary was marked with a lecture by Joe Wolf from Harvard University in St John's Chapel.

The name of Tynwald comes from the old Norse word Thingvöllr, meaning meeting place or assembly field.

It is the place where the Vikings met to uphold the law, settle disputes and make decisions affecting the community.

Mr Rodan added: "Tynwald Day serves a real purpose and isn't just an exercise in political pageantry.

"The Isle of Man is not and never has been part of the UK due to this system of parliamentary assembly which has been passed down to this day.

"It is the reason we don't just send just one politician to Westminster and the reason we have our own laws which we can develop ourselves."

Image copyright Mark Edwards
Image caption The Queen's Squadron provided the Guard of Honour

During this year's Tynwald Day sitting, 13 acts were officially declared, including the Treasure Act, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Act, and the Road Races Act.

At least seven petitions were then presented at the foot of the hill to the Clerk of Tynwald, some by individuals, others by Members of the House of Keys (MHK) on behalf of constituents.

The petitions included a call to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis and a dispute over part of a beach in the south of the island.

His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney also placed a wreath at the foot of the National War Memorial to honour Manx personnel who lost their lives during World War One.

The Queen's Colour Squadron provided the Guard of Honour while music was performed by the Band of the RAF Regiment.

Image copyright Mark Edwards
Image caption Music was performed by the Royal Air Force Regiment

Bill Dale provided the commentary after the recent death of Ian Cannell, who was widely considered to be the "voice of Tynwald" having delivered commentary for more than 50 years.

Howard Quayle said he was "very honoured" to be participating in Tynwald Day for the first time as Chief Minister.

Twelve MHKs elected in September were also experiencing their first Tynwald Day.

Ramsey MHK Dr Alex Allinson said the day serves a "profound and unique parliamentary purpose."

This year's celebrations also included traditional Manx music and dance, art and heritage, and numerous stalls on the fair field.

Image copyright Mark Edwards
Image caption Steve Rodan said Tynwald Day gives the Isle of Man the chance to "assert its national identity"

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