The main ceremonies of the day take place on Tynwald Hill, known in the Manx language as Cronk-y-Keeillown, or the Hill of the Church of John, in the village of St John's. This mound is said to include soil from all 17 of the Island's parishes. The mound, approximately 12 feet (3.7 metres) in height, includes four circular platforms, which are of successively decreasing size, thereby giving Tynwald Hill a somewhat conical shape.
The ceremony of proclaiming laws on Tynwald Hill is traceable to the Norse practice of making public proclamations from mounds: Iceland, for example, once used the Lögberg (Law-Rock or Law-Hill) for the same purpose. The origins of the man-made Tynwald Hill are unclear, but it existed by the end of the 14th century. It was used in 1393 for the inauguration of Sir William le Scrope, and again in 1408 for the inauguration of Sir John Stanley, as Lords of Mann. Its first recorded use for the promulgation of laws dates to 24 June 1417, when Sir John Stanley presided.
The Lieutenant Governor, together with the Sword-Bearer and the officers and members of the Legislative Council, occupy the highest level of the Hill; officers and members of the House of Keys occupy the next level. Other officials are accommodated on the lower levels and at the foot of the mound. A tent covers the top platform. The flag of the Isle of Man flies from the flagpole except when the British Sovereign presides, when the Royal Standard flies.