The Royal Chapel at St John’s was the venue for the official launch of this year’s Christmas stamps, which feature the creative artwork of Julia Ashby Smyth.
Each of the five stamps focus on a specific Manx word and a religious emblem closely associated with the spiritual aspect of Christmas and the winter festival. The words and images in turn draw upon the history of the Manx Gaelic version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, translated by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, John Phillips, in 1610.
A number of pupils who attend Bunscoill Ghaelgagh situated in St John’s, where they are taught through the Manx language, also attended the official launch, which began with a few words from Annie Kissack. She described how the children had discussed what is colloquially known as the Manx Prayer Book and focused their attention on the singular words used specifically on the stamps. This was followed by readings of Psalm 95 by youngsters from the school.
Other speakers at the event included Maxine Cannon of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins, who spoke of how the Manx language is celebrated both at home and abroad; encouraging the children to write letters and cards in the Island’s native tongue and use these vibrant Christmas stamps.
Julia Ashby Smyth also described how she arrived at these pictures before the pupils of Bunscoill Ghaelgagh sang in Manx Gaelic.
In conclusion, the current Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Right Reverend Robert Paterson, pronounced a blessing, spoke about Bishop Phillips (both were born in Wales) and, centring on the Manx word for ‘Peace’ (Shee), some similarities between Welsh and Manx words and their meanings.
The Manx Language Development Officer, Adrian Cain also attended the launch, together with a representative of Manx National Heritage with a copy of the Manx Prayer Book from 1765.
After singing the Manx National Anthem, in both Manx Gaelic and English, guests were invited to the nearby hall for afternoon tea.
© December 2015