This is an annually celebrated Ulster Protestant celebration – held each year on July 12th in the an area of religiously separated Northern Ireland that commemorates a 329-year-old victory in the military when the previous British Catholic monarch King James II was defeated by Protestant King William previously known as Prince of Orange in Holland in the Battle of the Boyne.Orangemen marched
How does it get celebrated?
Every year people belonging to the Orange Order – named after the king who fought for victory and founded in 1795 – wear flags and banners during parades throughout Northern Ireland accompanied by marching bands that are carrying musical instruments which include drums and pipes. Orangemen are recognizable by their bowler caps, white gloves, and orange collars. The order, which is a “fraternal” organization, has around 35,000-40,000 members, which includes approximately 2,000 members from the Republic. The annual celebration begins with fireworks and bonfires the evening of the Eleventh.
What are they celebrating?
They commemorate this year’s Glorious Revolution, or Revolution of 1688 that gave Protestant groups the right to worship. This was when the king William as well as Queen Mary James II’s child were able to take over the British monarchy of the Catholic monarch. The new king instituted an parliamentary democracy, which signified the shift from absolute monarchy to a parliamentary monarchy. An Bill of Rights passed by the 1689 parliament stated that the next monarch would not be able to be an Catholic or marry an Catholic.Orangemen marched On the 12th of December, Ulster Protestants are celebrating “King Billy” as the advocate for his Protestant religion who achieved the Protestant ascendancy – the power of the political and economic domination of the minor Protestant population for the past three centuries in Ireland. King James’s claim to the throne were ended by the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690.
What is the reason it is so controversial?
It is perceived by the majority Catholic nationalists in Northern Ireland as a provocative show of triumphalism.
What is the reason bonfires are set up in the evening of this Eleventh Night?
Bonfires were set, the Orange Order says, across Ulster “from hilltop to hilltop” to celebrate when the news about William and Mary’s coronation made its way to Ireland and to help the King and his 15,000 troops to their landing at Carrickfergus and marched on to Belfast in June 1690. The celebration of the “Eleventh Evening” fires were also believed to be a representation of the camp fires that were lit by the King’s troops in the night prior to that Battle of the Boyne.