Monday, July 12, 2010

Newfoundland's Protestant holiday

It’s Orangemen’s Day today in Newfoundland – a provincial holiday when services such as garbage collection are suspended, but stores are open. I was surprised to learn that a day that has such strong Christian denominational overtones would be celebrated as a holiday. After all, Orangemen's Day commemorates the 1690 Protestant victory over Roman Catholic forces in the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. King William III of Orange, the Protestant King of England, defeated former King James II, a Catholic. The Orange Order was established a century after the Battle of the Boyne and steadily grew in the 19th century as a patriotic bulwark against what many Protestants saw as treasonous Catholicism. The Orangemen's parades, especially in the north of Ireland are always filled with tension.  Whether or not the Newfoundland government realizes it, that’s what it’s celebrating on this day – not some glorious affirmation of belief in Protestantism. For many people, it’s just another reason for a holiday of which there seem to be a lot on this rock. Guess it’s hard to let go of the things that divide us – Catholic/Protestant; English/French; Tory/Grit.

3 comments:

mark said...

have always thought it a bit odd that we celebrate a protestant holiday but this IS newfoundland. no wonder productivity is so low and work ethic so poor with all the holidays on the calendar.

Doug said...

we had trouble in belfast this year for the first time in ages...did you read about it ?

Peter L. Whittle said...

"productivity is so low and work ethic so poor"

Bit nasty and untrue. Can you back that up?