Although Bloomsday is more known to be celebrated in Dublin, June 16th is actually commemorated in different corners of the world. From Hungary, to China and Australia, it is fair to say that Joyce and his work are praised, honoured and performed in their own unique ways across the globe.
How could Bloomsday not be celebrated in the birthplace of Bloom’s fictional father, Rudolf Virág, who was a Hungarian Jew. In 2007, the Hungarian filmmaker Csilla Toldy produced a short documentary inspired by the roots of Joyce’s main character titled The Bloom Mystery. Toldy filmed her documentary on Bloomsday in both Hungary and Ireland at the same time in order to express the relationship and resemblance between the two nations. To watch a clip of The Bloom Mystery, click here.
Since Ulysses was translated for a Chinese audience in 1996 and Finnegan’s Wake in 2013, the popularity of Joyce and his work give more excuses than one to celebrate the Irish author in Shanghai. In fact, two Joyce related productions, A Journey Round James Joyce (a biographical recount of Joyce’s life in Trieste) and Ulysses (an adaptation to Dermot Bolger’s 1996 A Dublin Bloom) performed by Chinese actors have toured in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Jinan in 2015.
Irish literature is so alive in Shanghai that five different universities offer Irish literature programs (Fudan University, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics and Tongji University). Together, students, professors, and Joyce enthusiasts support a Bloomsday program filled with readings, talks, food, music and, of course, costumes.
Over dinners, readings and discussions, Australia’s Joyce enthusiasts have been celebrating Bloomsday for over a decade in Melbourne. Yet this year, Melbourne is commemorating more than just Ulysses. As it is the centenary for not only the 1916 Rising, 2016 also marks 100 years since the publication of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Between June 15 and 19, an original stage adaptation of Joyce’s almost prequel to Ulysses will take place, where Melbourne’s audience will witness the well-known Stephen Dedalus, who “take on the immense job of freeing himself from the assumptions of his family, his tribe, his church, his nation, and the art tradition he inherited.”
Bloomsday and Ulysses is a lot more global than you may have thought. So, what makes Montreal’s Bloomsday Festival so unique? Tune in for our upcoming post or simply find out yourself by coming to Montreal’s Bloomsday Festival between June 12 and June 16.