April 15, 1912. A day that will forever be remembered as a tragic date (and one that, 90 years later, would make James Cameron piles of cash). On this date, the Titanic, which was supposed to be an unsinkable ocean liner, sank in the North Atlantic Ocean off of the coast of Newfoundland. Only five days into its trans-Atlantic voyage, the inaugural crossing would be its only voyage. In the end, 1,517 of the 2,228 passengers on board lost their lives in the frigid waters.
A century later, people are paying tribute to the heart-breaking event. From memorial cruises to services and concerts, those wishing to honor the lives lost and this sad day in history have a chance to do so.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Starting in Belfast, where the ship was made, events begin March 31. On Friday, April 13, MTV joins in on the Titanic memorial with “MTV Presents Titanic Sounds” at The Slipways as it shines a spotlight on Belfast and its history. Then, on Saturday, April 14, the Titanic Centenary Commemoration gala is set to take place in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. On the anniversary of the sinking, a new memorial garden around the Titanic Memorial sculpture will be unveiled at Belfast City Hall, followed by a remembrance service.
Southampton, located on the south coast of England, was also touched by the Titanic. Of the 1,517 lives lost, 549 of them were from this town. To honor the town’s connection to the ship, there are numerous events taking place on April 14. From 9am-4pm the British Titanic Society is holding its annual convention at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel. While the event is actually set over a few days, Saturday is the only day it is open to the public to explore.
Leah Fleming, author of The Captain’s Daughter, a novel about the lives of women brought together by the sinking of the ship, will be on hand at Waterstones West Quay Shopping Center to sign copies of her book. Later in the day, at 7:30pm, the Southampton Guildhall hosts the SCO-CoMA Titanic Commemoration Concert with Dvorak’s New World Symphony performing a newly arranged mood piece, Titanic by Gavin Bryar. On Sunday, the public is invited to attend a wreath laying on the grave of Captain Sir Arthur Henry Rostron at The Old Burial Ground at 11:15am. Rostron captained the rescue ship RMS Carpathia, which rescued more than 700 survivors. Finally, at 2pm inside St. Mary’s Church, the annual commemorative service is held.
Read more: Southhampton – Sailing port of Titanic
Titanic’s last port-of-call, Ireland’s Cobh in Cork Harbour, is honoring the date with numerous activities that begin on Monday, April 9 and continue through the 15th. On the 9th, the MS Balmoral Cruise Liner will trace the path of the Titanic, arriving in Cobh and welcoming passengers wishing to pay tribute to the events that unfolded. On Wednesday, April 11, a national tribute complete with an International Fleet Review from the Irish Navy, a fly-over from the Irish Air Corp. and a concert with a re-telling of the ill-fated ship’s story, are scheduled to commemorate the day the ship arrived to Cork Harbour.
During the day on April 14, the Irish Coast Guard will exhibit rescue techniques from both 100 years ago and today. Then, on April 15, a remembrance service is set to take place. Also taking place during the week are outdoor markets along the water (Tuesday-Thursday) where visitors can purchase Titanic memorabilia and outdoor concerts Wednesday-Saturday evening.
Read more about things to do in Ireland
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Across the Atlantic, near where the ship met the murky ocean floor, events are also taking place. Halifax, Nova Scotia, the final resting place for hundreds of victims of the shipwreck, is hosting a two-day event to commemorate the sinking. The memorial begins at 7:30pm on April 14 (Night of the Bells) at the city’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic with a candle-lit procession from the museum to the Grand Parade, journeying past some Titanic-related landmarks. During this time, a real-time account of the events that occurred that night, using the original messages received, will also be Tweeted via @TitanicRealTime. Then, at 9:30pm, the Grand Parade takes place, complete with performances telling the tale of the Titanic. At 12:20am, to honor the moment the Titanic began its descent to the ocean floor, there will be a moment of silence.
The following day, people can join the Titanic Spiritual Ceremony from 3-4pm, an interfaith service at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where 121 of the people killed in the wreck are buried, to remember the people who lost their lives. Aside from the weekend programs, the Maritime Museum is also hosting a photo exhibition through June, “An Earnest Price: 150 Grave Stories.”
Other events around the world
For those who are confident history won’t repeat itself, two commemorative cruises are set to chop through the ocean. Departing from New York City on April 10, the Anniversary Cruise takes passengers on a somber cruise to Halifax for a day of memorial events, then over to the site where the ship sank for a memorial service, and then back to New York.
The Memorial Cruise retraces the path of the ship, beginning in Southampton, stopping at the Titanic site and then heading to New York. From there, passengers can either return via plane to the UK, or stay onboard and complete the 12-day trip, stopping in Oak Bluffs/Martha’s Vineyard, and a tiny cluster of French islands, St. Pierre and Miquelon in Canada before returning to Southampton.
While totally unrelated to any historical ties to the Titanic, the Hullett House in Hong Kong, is recreating the ten-course dinner menu served in the First Class Dining saloon – the last meal to be served aboard the ship – on April 14. Michelin-star Chef Philippe Orrico offers up a twist on the original meal, tapping into the ingredients but adding his own flair. The event, Dinner on RMS Titanic, includes little touches to create an authentic first-class dining feel, complete with recreations of server’s uniforms and table settings with plates designed by the same company that created the china on the boat. To top off this extravagant affair, the original champagne, Heidsieck Monopole Gout Americain, which was found in perfect condition at the bottom of the ocean, is going to be served at the event. While this dinner is invitation only, from April 12 through May 12, the menu will be available, along with a more budget-friendly second-class dinner, too.
And, for those who prefer to stay put, Titanic is being re-released in 3-D, putting you that much closer to Leo, Kate and, of course, the iceberg.
Read more: Exhibitions of the Titanic in London
- Diana Edelman