Something that any person who moves from country to country must learn is the local culture. This is especially necessary for pastors and missionaries. I know many missionaries who struggle and even fail because they do not recognise and accept some elements of the local culture.
One such local event occurs here in Northern Ireland this week. Each year in July the Protestant community celebrate the victory of King William of Orange over the Catholic King Charles. This victory ensured the protestant dominence for many years to come.
So each year on the 11th night they light huge bonfires up and down the country. When I say huge, I mean enormous! They are genuinely great feats of design as they tower over 100ft tall in many places. Then on the 12th of July marching bands, the Orange Order and other groups meet and parade in celebration. The bands are made up of accordions, Bag Pipes, flutes and penny whistles, lambeg drums and a few other instruments. I am sure most have never seen anything like it.
Hopefully I will get some pictures taken of these events and share more at the end of the week.
One side effect of these celebrations is their impact on churches. Most churches will cancel their midweek services. So, we have an unplanned evening at home this week!
It just goes to show that going from one English speaking country to another English speaking country does not mean there are no cultural differences to take into consideration.