Setting sail for Mayflower 400 with exciting events for the year
PUBLISHED: 16:18 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:18 19 February 2020
NATALIE MILLAR-PARTRIDGE visits New England for Devon Lifeto discover how Americans plan to mark the Mayflower’srole in their country’s formation.
The 2020 celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth to America are in full swing in the United States. The Mayflower's passengers were in search of a new life - some seeking religious freedom, others a fresh start in a different land; today around 35 million people can trace their ancestry back to the Pilgrims - meaning, Mayflower 400 commemorations will resonate across the globe.
Many place names in New England originate in the UK, largely as a result of English settlers and explorers of the 13 colonies; Massachusetts has the most with 104 English names for cities, towns and counties. Rhode Island has the fewest, just 15, Maine has 32, Vermont 36, Connecticut 31 and New Hampshire - named after Hampshire, England, by John Mason, the colony's first proprietor - has 47.
Whilst 2020 will see a global commemoration of the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620 the states of New England will be at the heart of the celebrations. The decisions made and the connections fostered, were critical to the foundations of America, with the story actually beginning in Provincetown, Massachusetts, when 41 pilgrims spent five weeks exploring Cape Cod, setting sail once more to establish Plymouth Colony in Plymouth, MA, and signing the Mayflower Compact - the catalyst for American democracy.
Today these democratic values of liberty, justice and freedom of expression resonate through four centuries of American history, embodying the fabric of Provincetown's identity.
Provincetown, known as 'the land of firsts', and home to the Pilgrim Monument, is rich in history and at the centre of events, having already paid homage to the tower itself, with its annual lighting of the monument - celebrating the Pilgrims' first landing in the New World, in Provincetown on 11 November, 1620 - one of Cape Cod's most beautiful traditions.
The monument, built between 1907 and 1910 to commemorate the first landfall of the Pilgrims in 1620, as well as the signing of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbour, stands at 252 feet and is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States, now part of the Provincetown historic district. The walk to the top of the tower, combining 116 steps and 60 ramps, will be sure to have your pulse racing, but the incredible 360-degree vistas across Cape Cod peninsula, are more than worth the climb.
Provincetown's colourful history will be brought alive with an opening ceremony of the Plymouth 400 commemoration; a two-hour event of historical content, including musical headliners, interpretive readings, choreographed movement, original productions and visual narratives, to create a show-stopping spectacle. The Plymouth 400 time capsule will be unveiled, with items placed inside by special guests.
The ship's visit is scheduled to coincide with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants special signature week, with the commemorative event including a memorial service and wreath-laying in the harbour, followed by a programme at the base of the Monument.
Stateside Mayflower 400 Celebration Highlights
Memorial Hall, Plymouth MA
A two-hour show-stopping opening ceremony of the Plymouth 400 commemoration, combining musical headliners, interpretive readings, choreographed movement, original productions and visual narratives.
10 September-14 September
The Provincetown Port Visit by Mayflower II is set to include arrival and departure.
Mayflower II will be part of the daily historical re-enactments of the signing of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbour in 1620, enabling the public to witness history as it happened.
Gala event at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown museum will host a special formal Gala commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims' landing.
General society of Mayflower Descendants' Memorial Program
The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum will host the General Society of Mayflower Descendants memorial programme and luncheon, featuring a performance by the Boston Gay Men's Chorus.
Provincetown Harbour Pier toast Mayflower II departure
Experience a sunrise Toast and wave farewell to the Mayflower II as she journeys to her home, Plymouth, MA.