Posted on July 5, 2017
Here's a holiday that has been observed for centuries, ever since 1417: the National Day of the Isle of Man.
I know that "the Isle of Man" sounds like it is making some claim to be the island of humans, or maybe the island with only male inhabitants - no women allowed! - but neither is true.
Instead, the island country got its name from a Celtic word for mountain - and also from a story about a merchant who supposedly lived on the island. The island used to be called Mano, Mona, Mana, Manu, etc. - and nowadays it is often called Mann.
Even though almost nobody still speaks it, the "native language" of the island is called Manx.
Tailless Manx cats come from the island!
By the way, the Isle of Man is not listed on most lists of "countries of the world," and that is because it is a self-governing crown dependency, "the crown" being the British crown. Whoever wears the British Crown (Queen Elizabeth II does at the moment) is considered Lord of Mann (yes, even though she is a woman, the Queen is titled Lord of Mann). Although the Isle of Man uses British pounds and its defense depends on the U.K., it is not technically part of the United Kingdom. It doesn't have to "Brexit" away from the European Union, because it was never a part of the EU. Some Brits use the island as a tax haven.
The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea.
The holiday takes its name from the island's legislature, Tynwald, which holds a special meeting called Midsummer Court today. Sometimes a member of the British royal family presides - Queen Elizabeth II has twice! - but most years, including this one, the island's Lieutenant Governor presides over the meeting. The meeting takes place partly in a church and partly outdoors on a small hill.
Check out the Isle of Man:
Perhaps the most famous people born in Mann are the Bee Gees - the three brothers who did a ton of disco songs and rose to worldwide fame. Actually, the Gibb brothers had English parents and lived in England for a while, and then to Australia - but they were Manx born!
The Isle of Man is considered the motorcycle racing capital of the world. How low can a rider go? And how low can the race photographers go?
The Isle of Man is the first entire country ever adopted into the UNESCO Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Check out this earlier post on the Isle of Man.
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