*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***
It is the 21st of September 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org, I’m Dan van Voorhis.
Let’s talk about orange. The color and fruit, which came first? The answer for an English-speaking audience is that it was the fruit. Prior to the 16th century, there were no Oranges in Western Europe. It was the Portuguese who first brought them to the western eye and palate.
Prior to the fruit, the English word for what we call Orange was “red-yellow”. The fruit, when seen prior to it being widely available would be called a “golden apple”. The word itself comes from the Sanskrit word “naranga”. “naranja” is Orange in Spanish and it's likely that the English word was narange- eventually losing the first “n” and becoming “orange”.
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This show comes to you from the CHA studios in my native Orange County. And there are many Orange Counties but none as old as the original “Orange County” the county of Aurenja (named after the Celtic water deity, Arausio) dates back to 35 BC and is in Southern France. And it just so happens that the royal house of the Netherlands in the 16th century came from “Aurenja”- we know it as the house of Orange Nassau.
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In the 17th century, Protestants across Britain were wary of the Catholic leadership they saw as responsible for the turmoil and conflict that enveloped the British isles in the middle of that century. After the beheading of the Catholic sympathizing king, the civil war lead to new Catholic sympathizing kings who were the sons of the beheaded King, yadda yadda.…
It just so happens that Catholic King James II had two daughters who were raised as Protestants and married off. And one of those daughters was called Mary (because they all have to be called Mary!) and was married into the house of Orange-Nassau. Her husband, William of Orange was a fierce protestant and was invited by British Protestants to overthrow the British Catholic monarch. Which he did. It’s called the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and it is glorious only if you were a Protestant.
And now there is a king known as William of Orange. And there was a name for that old red-yellow color and a delicious new fruit called an Orange. And thus while there is nothing about William of Orange that was associated with the color… now there would be. [Fun fact: Princeton was founded in honor of William of Orange and thus their primary color is Orange and their mascot is an Orange and their team name is the Orange].
On account of the fruit and then William of the house of Orange and his victory against Catholics, the color orange has been associated with Protestantism. And… wait for it… it was on THIS, the 21st of September in 1795 that the Order of the Orange was founded in County Armagh, Ireland. The order was formed out of a group known as the “Peep O’ Day Boys”. They were known as such on account of attacking Catholics first thing in the morning in their homes. The Catholics had a group called “the Defenders” who engaged in similar violent acts.
The Order of the Orange is a sectarian, Masonic-like lodge that refuses any members who do not adhere to Protestantism. It is Protestant in name only, or only in so far as “Protestant” means some kind of nationalist, conservative fraternity. And in the UK, this is what it can mean. But the founding of the order and especially their chosen color goes back to the story of the fruit, the color, and the Dutch royal house with its roots in the original Orange County.
The last word for today comes from Isaiah Chapter 2:
In the future, the mountain
with the LORD's temple
will be the highest of all.
It will reach above the hills;
every nation will rush to it.
Many people will come and say,
“Let's go to the mountain
of the LORD God of Jacob
and worship in his temple.”
The LORD will teach us his Law
and we will obey him.
He will settle arguments
They will pound their swords
and their spears
into rakes and shovels;
they will never make war
or attack one another.
People of Israel, let's live
by the light of the LORD.
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 21st of September 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.
The show is produced by a man whose last name, like the word Orange- has no natural rhyming words. He is Christoper Gillespie.
The show is written and read by a man who was going to tell a knock-knock joke, but it would take too long. It did, however, involve an Orange. I’m Dan van Voorhis.
You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.