Orangemen's Day - Irish Protestants celebrate Orangemen's Day — also known as The Twelfth or Glorious Twelfth — on the 12th of July every year. Learn more about this important celebration: its history, context, and how it is observed.

Orangemen's Day 2024 – July 12, 2024

Irish Protestants celebrate Orangemen’s Day — also known as The Twelfth or Glorious Twelfth — on the July 12th of July every year. The day commemorates Protestant king William of Orange’s victory over Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne: a pivotal moment for the Protestant cause. In Ulster, split 50/50 between Catholics and Protestants, the day has historically seen outbursts of sectarian violence. But today its reputation has improved, with most recent marches celebrated peacefully.

Orangemen's Day timeline

A Shift in the Date

The Gregorian calendar is adopted, which later becomes the reason for the shift in the date of Orangemen’s Day.

Battle of the Boyne

The Battle of the Boyne takes place outside Drogheda, which, today, is located in the Republic of Ireland.

July 1, 1690
Original Date

The Battle of the Boyne was originally commemorated on this day.

19th century
Parades Galore

Orangemen's parades are commonplace in many Newfoundland communities.

How to Observe Orangemen's Day

  1. Light a bonfire

    Irish protestants celebrate Orangemen's day by building towering bonfires, competing with one another to create the largest blaze.

  2. Beat the Lambeg drum

    On Orangemen local Protestant lodges' marching bands can be seen parading the streets, playing traditional music on traditional instruments—most famously the Lambeg drum.

  3. Wear a silly costume

    While The Twelfth is usually treated with gravitas, due to its long and occasionally bloody history, many lodges' bands will don silly costumes after their trip to the battlefield, returning home with a more jocular attitude.

Why Orangemen's Day is Important

  1. It presents an opportunity to heal

    While Orangemen's Day has often been misused as a trigger for sectarian conflict, it can also be used as a yardstick for how far Northern Ireland has come in resolving its troubles. Every year that parades and celebrations are carried off peacefully reinforces the strides made in the Northern Irish peace process.

  2. It celebrates culture

    At its best, Orangemen's Day allows Irish protestants to celebrate their culture, and mingle with family and friends—not only in Northern Ireland, but in other areas with large Irish protestant communities, like Scotland, England, Wales, Canada, Australia, and America.

  3. It encourages historical education

    Northern Ireland is full of history, and events like Orangemen's Day encourage younger Irish generations to learn about the nation's past—to understand what's going on, if nothing else.

Orangemen's Day dates

Year Date Day
2023 July 12 Wednesday
2024 July 12 Friday
2025 July 12 Saturday
2026 July 12 Sunday
2027 July 12 Monday