Yesterday was the 329th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.
Or not quite. Due to the change from the then Julian calendar to the Gregorian, now in use, the battle took place on July 1 1690 which is July 11 by modern standards (there is a greater 11 day time lag between the early 1730s News Letters and now).
The celebration that takes place on July 12 is a wider commemoration of the outcome of the Williamite wars, which had a major impact on the western world as it is today, by limiting monarchy and cementing democracy.
The cultural implications of this for our free societies could barely be more pertinent now, on the first and 30th anniversaries of, respectively, Russia’s Salisbury poisonings and China’s Tiananman massacre.
And what a celebration our Twelfth is, year in, year out.
Some critics like to sneer that the Orange tradition is a dying one. There is little sign of it in Belfast’s still vast parade, or the multiple demonstrations across Northern Ireland, attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
There was rain at times and in places yesterday, as there often is, but it never dampens the spirits.
Orangefest is a recent concept but is a promotion and continuation of a long history of bonfire rituals, followed the next day by a carnival of colour, pageantry, music and marching, that ushers in for many people a holiday period at the very height of the happy summer season.