Miko the Kitty
: Bounty Day, as the holiday is known on Norfolk Island, has its roots in another historical event known as the “Mutiny on the Bounty.” The “Bounty” refers to the British Royal Navy ship, the “HMS (His Majesty’s Ship) Bounty,” whereas “mutiny” is the refusal of the sailors to obey the orders of the ship’s commander.
The “Mutiny on the Bounty” was an event on 28 April 1789 when the sailors aboard the HMS Bounty decided to stop following orders and took control of the ship. It is said that harsh treatment from the captain plus the idyllic life on the Pacific Island of Tahiti where the ship’s crew had previously spent 5 months, led to the outbreak of mutiny some 1,300 miles west of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean. After the mutiny, the Bounty eventually landed on Pitcairn Islands where the mutineers, along with their Tahitian wives and a group of Tahitian men and women, settled and burned the ship to prevent its detection on 23 January 1790.
As the years passed by the Pitcairn colony started to grow and the descendants of the mutineers eventually outgrew the ability of the Pitcairn Islands to support them. As a consequence of this the 193 descendants of the Bounty’s crew wrote a letter to the British Government in request of a larger settlement. The request would be answered and Norfolk Island, a larger island that had previously been used as a penal colony, was granted by Queen Victoria to the Pitcairn Islanders in 1856. In May of that same year, the community of 193 Pitcairn Islanders began the travel across the ocean to Norfolk Island on board the Morayshire. The trip would end on June 8 when the travelers finally reached their new home.
Today Norfolk Island, located in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, makes part of the Commonwealth of Australia but enjoys a high degree of self-governance.
Once a year during Bounty Day, the roughly 2300 residents of Norfolk Island re-enact the day when the Pitcairn Islanders first arrived on the island. On this day people dress in typical costumes of the 1800s as an act of recognition and perpetuation of the local culture. A procession departs the pier where the historical landing is re-enacted and marches to the cenotaph in remembrance to the first settlers. Here people lay wreaths. The events are followed by a visit to the cemetery where people sing together hymns.
The celebrations continue with a visit to Government House where the governor of Norfolk Island gives a speech. Next the people gather in groups to be judged for the best traditional dresses. The celebrations often conclude with a tradition reserved for the children where they roll down the grassy hill that surrounds Government House.
Munduslingua sends warm greetings to our friends in Norfolk Island and wishes them very joyful Bounty Day celebrations.
In addition we invite you to learn more about Bounty Day and the Norfolk Island by watching the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FJF2liOXDo