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Parades and Marches - Chronology 1: Key Dates in the Parading Calendar

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Text and Research: Fionnuala McKenna
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This is a DRAFT (v2) outline of the dates of the Annual Parading Events in Northern Ireland. It highlights only the main events held throughout the "Marching Season", that is. the period between Easter Monday and the end of September. It is important to note however, that smaller church parades are held all year round. This chronology has been compiled from a number of sources.

Easter Monday
Amalgamated Committee of Apprentice Boys Parade.

Easter Tuesday
Junior Orange Order's Belfast and South Antrim Lodges hold their annual parade - usually at a coastal town.

End of April Sunday Afternoon
Charity Service in the Ulster Hall attended by the Belfast Orange Lodges, in aid of the Belfast Orange Lodges Widows Fund.

Middle of May
Scottish Apprentice Boys hold their annual parade.

End of May
Annual parade held by Junior Orangemen from Armagh, South Tyrone and Fermanagh - usually at a coastal town.

First Friday in June
First Orange Mini-Twelfth Parade is held - North Belfast.

First Saturday in June
Annual parade of the Belfast Branch Club of Apprentice Boys.

Second Saturday in June
King William's Landing is commemorated in Carrickfergus and on the same day, Portadown District Orangemen hold Mini-Twelfth Parade.

Third Weekend in June
Mini-Twelfth Parade held in North Belfast.

Fourth Weekend in June
Mini-Twelfth Parades held in West Belfast, and the Sixmilewater District of South Antrim.

1 July
Anniversary of the beginning of the battle of the Somme. Church parades and wreath laying ceremonies are held on this day and the nearest Sunday throughout Northern Ireland.

First Wednesday in July (after Somme parades)
Mini-Twelfth Parade held by Belfast's Ballynafeigh District.

Saturday Before 12th July
Orange parades held in Rosnowlagh, County Donegal (in the Republic of Ireland), and a number of venues in Scotland.

Sunday Before 12th July
Boyne anniversary church service is held at different venues across the Northern Ireland.

12th July
Nineteen main parades are held at different venues across Northern Ireland. This day marks both the highlight of the marching season, and also the end of it for the Orange Institution.

13th July
First major Royal Black Institution parades held at Scarva and Bangor in County Down.

Beginning of August
Annual church parades are held by some of the District Black Preceptories.

Saturday nearest 12th August
Apprentice Boys parade through Derry to celebrate the 'Relief of Derry'. This attracts people from all over Northern Ireland, and is second only to the 12th of July celebrations. Also on this day, the Black Preceptories from County Fermanagh parade to commemorate the Battle of Newtownbutler.

Last 2 weeks in August
Local 'Black' parades are held in South and East Belfast.

Last Saturday in August
County 'Black' parades are held in Counties Antrim, Down, Derry, and East and West Tyrone. Belfast County preceptories alternate their parade between a venue in County Down and County Antrim.

Month of September
Band parades continue throughout this month, although the last Saturday formally marks the end of the commemorative 'Marching Season'.

Last Sunday in October
Reformation Day Services: This is the last official Orange Institution Parade of the year. In Belfast, all of the Orange Districts independently parade to Saint Anne's Cathedral for the Service.

11 November
A number of local bands hold short parades to local memorials to celebrate Armistice Day.

Saturday nearest 18 December
Final Parade of the year held to mark the anniversary of the Closing of the Gates of Derry in 1688. A ritual burning of an effigy of Lundy takes place in late afternoon.

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