12th July Celebrations
The Orange Order’s origins lie in the 1690 Battle of the Boyne when the Dutch Protestant King William of Orange defeated his father-in-law, the Catholic King James II of England and VII of Scotland.
In 1795 the Protestants and Catholics clashed again at the Battle of the Diamond and following that victory the Protestants pledged a new oath to “Crown and country and the Reformed religion” and from this the Orange Order was born.
July 12th is the most important date in the Orange calendar and marks the anniversary of King Williams Battle of the Boyne. In the northern hemisphere it is commemorated with bands and parades.
July the 12th in New Zealand it is in the dead of winter, so the celebration is observed with great food, wine and a good friends in congenial surroundings.
It follows the tradition of mid-winter Christmas where serving up great roast dinners and heavy puddings are not suitable for our summertime Christmas where casual clothes and barbeques at the beach are more in order.
The New Zealand’s 12th of July celebrations is more about getting friends and family together in what can be a miserable time of the year as a welcoming social gathering of the order.
Our mid-winter celebrations in July also coincide with the Maori New Year or Matariki (the first sighting of the Pleiades or seven sisters star group). The month long celebration is a time to farewell the past year and welcome new life and new beginnings with festivities centred on food sharing, hospitality, games, concerts and performances.
Find out more about the Orange Order of New Zealand and how you can join in with the celebrations.