The 11th night and the 12th day of July, Orange Celebrations are probably the most dangerous and provocative in the Ulster calendar. My own experiences took place back in 1952-53, I was fascinated by the colourfully decorated streets in the city. Particularly Malvern St on the Shankill Road, they really did go to work. Archways, banners, streamers and hundreds of Union Jacks, the street was a sea of red white and blue. In those days I really didn’t understand the amount of hatred that existed between the Catholic’s and Protestants. For me it was just a big celebration, the bonfires were exciting and the parade impressive. However, today I look back and wonder why I didn’t ask what it was all about. I recall going to the Lisburn Road with my father to watch the parade. It was an endless parade of Orange Lodge members and their drum and flute bands. There were a few bagpipes and other instruments, but mostly flute and drum and the most heard music, the Sash!! The bands were not turned out in particularly smart uniforms nor were particularly good musicians! I was more impressed when I saw a boy marching whom I knew from school. Someone claimed it was the largest parade in the world, and of course I believe him. Now old and wiser I would like to see this questionable celebration ended for good. I hope this years events will be peaceful with no similar violence that has been the recent history.
God Bless and keep reading