The Twelfth Celebration 2023: Orangemen's Day- Commemoration of A Strong Victory
Orangemen in full regalia on the 12th of July in Belfast,2011

The Twelfth Celebration, also known as Orangemen’s Day is a very significant historical celebration in Northern Ireland. It commemorates the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The Battle of the Boyne which took place on July 12, 1690, near the River Boyne in County Meath, Ireland changed the course for Ireland’s political and religious landscape as a result of King Williams’ victory.

The Orange Order(Orange Institution), was established in 1795 as a fraternal organization dedicated to the remembrance of the Battle of the Boyne and upholding the principles governing the Protestant.

Twelfth parade in Coleraine, early 1900s

The celebrations feature a parade which is the center piece of The Twelfth celebrations. where participants are seen marching through the streets in traditional Orange regalia accompanied by bands is quite a spectacle. Bonfires are also a significant piece of the event as they symbolize loyalty and commemorate historical events significant to the Protestant community. They are lit on the eve of the Twelfth in many communities across the country.

Communities The Twelfth Celebration Will Take Place

These communities for the event as confirmed by the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Edward Stevenson, include;

  • Ballinamallard
  • Ballycastle
  • Ballymena
  • Bangor
  • Belfast
  • Broughshane
  • Clogher
  • Coleraine
  • Comber
  • Dungannon
  • Dromore (Tyrone)
  • Kilkeel
  • Loughbrickland
  • Lurgan
  • Magherafelt
  • Portglenone
  • Randalstown
  • Upper Ballinderry

Music and Cultural Displays are also major highlights of the event.

This year’s celebrations marks the 333rd anniversary of King William’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne and according to The Orange Order, tens of thousands of people are expected to participate, with many thousands more spectating. This might just be the largest annual festival in the province.

The Twelfth Celebration is also geared at bringing communities together thereby fostering a sense of unity and solidarity which in turn creates an avenue for families and friends to gather and strengthen their social bonds.

It is also important to note that the Twelfth Celebration, also known as Orangemen’s has faced challenges, criticisms and controversies due to its perceived exclusionary nature and association with sectarianism and efforts to promote inclusivity and dialogue have been made to ensure that the event is celebrated in a peaceful and respectful manner. And by celebrating responsibly and fostering understanding, we can ensure that the Twelfth Celebration in 2023 is a peaceful and meaningful occasion for all.

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