Orangemen’s Day is a day celebrated in Northern Ireland on the 12th of July to commemorate the Battle of Boyne; A battle that took place in 1690 between James II of England – a Catholic – and William III of England – a Protestant. King William III – also known as King William of Orange – won the battle which resulted in the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland.
This battle has been viewed in symbolically as a struggle between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, although modern analysis has shown that both Catholics and Protestants fought on either side. From its inception, this holiday has been known for its political aspects, although these have been downplayed over the last few years in order to characterize it as a more family friendly event.
Traditions, Observances and Customs
Marches are held all over Northern Ireland on Orangemen’s Day. Those who participate in these marches traditionally wear dark suits, orange sashes, bowler hats and white gloves, although these aren’t as common as they once were. During this time, many lodges across the country fly the Union Jack flag or Orange Order Flags. There is also a common practice of lighting huge bonfires that can be seen from miles away. Typically this day is a bank holiday throughout Northern Ireland, but in countries outside of Ireland it is not, particularly in the United Kingdom or Newfoundland.