Young people from loyalist areas see bonfires as an important part of their community and are keen to learn more about their origins, according to new research.
Two new reports from the Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF) have concluded that young people from loyalist and republican areas are calling for the opportunity to learn more and reflect how we as a society celebrate culture and tradition.
The NIFY says it was keen to provide a space for young people to have a say on the matter as it believes they are often left out of discussions around bonfires and commemorations.
NIYF chairperson, Lucy Grainger said: “The reports show that young people are keen to have their say on culture, identity and commemoration but it is clear that young people want to learn more about the origins of their respective bonfire traditions. We believe that more should be done to educate them about their historical and cultural origins.”
“The reports also show significant differences among young people in the two communities. In loyalist areas, young people see bonfires as an important part of the life of their community and some believe they are controlled by or have the support of paramilitaries.
“In republican areas they are seen as somewhat more contentious, with some young people seeking to replace them with festivals, carnivals and other events. Young people believe the wider community in these areas associate bonfires with anti-social behaviour.”
The full reports can be read at www.niyf.org/publications