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Independence Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Hopefully your independence day this year was filled with fireworks, American flag T-shirts, barbecues, and plenty of potato salad.  As I was impatiently awaiting the start of the Boston fireworks this year, from the comfort  of a roof top in Mission Hill (see above - pretty scenic right??), I wondered if our celebration, fireworks and all, is really as uniquely American as we perceive it to be. So, I decided to do a little research about the Independence Day celebrations of other cultures and I discovered that firework shows, eating contests, BBQs,  parties, and parades are actually a pretty universal thing and seem to be the standard way to celebrate freedom. 


Australia: January 26

OK so Australia Day isn't exactly the Australian equivalent of Independence Day but it's pretty close. On this day the Australians celebrate the first arrival of the British (I know total opposite from the 4th in America) and the first unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove. Australia and America have different reasons for celebrating, but the way they celebrate is similar. Just like Americans, Australians celebrate this day with family gatherings, festivals, fireworks, and (of course) BBQs. Each city has its own Australia Day traditions, for example Sydney holds its famous boat races, while Melbourne has a People's March to celebrate the diversity of the nation. Overall it seems like a pretty good time.

Ghana: March 6

Ghana was the first African colony to celebrate its independence from Britain in 1957. Every year on this day the people of Ghana celebrate with fireworks parades and traditional street parties. And if you think street parties sound fun, on the coast people have beach parties and celebrate with dance moves that combine traditional elements with hip hop.


France: July 14

France's independence day commemorates the day of the storming of the Bastille prison during the French revolution.The day begins with a military parade on the famous Champs-Élysées. The French also attend Firemen’s galas, where fire stations across France are open to the public for dancing, drinking, and partying and even some live demonstrations. A party with French firemen?? Oui s'il vous plaît. 


Peru : July 28 -29

The way Peru celebrates their independence day is actually brilliant. Why? because they take two days to do it instead of one. As someone who thinks July 4th is the greatest American holiday, I am really into the idea of dedicating two days to celebrate. In Peru, they celebrate their independence on July 28, the date when José de San Martine proclaimed Peru’s independence; AND July 29, on which they celebrate the Armed Forces and National Police. The festivities kick off with a cannon salute in Lima, followed by Te Deum mass, led by the Archbishop of the capital city and attended by the President of the Republic. The Gran Corso, (aka a giant parade) also takes place in downtown Lima.


India: August 15

August 15th marks the day the British brexit-ed India ending the three century long period of British rule. Billions of Indians every year commemorate the historic day by decorating their houses, offices, and schools with the deep saffron, white and green of the Indian flag. Families gather to watch the annual flag hoisting ceremony, broadcasted live from the Red Fort in New Delhi. Independence day in India is a beautiful celebration because all over the country the sky is full of colorful kites, which to Indians symbolize freedom. Definitely the perfect day for a picnic outside in my opinion. 


Indonesia: August 17

Celebrations on August 17th begin with the flag ceremony at the National Palace. The flag is hoisted by carefully selected high school students from across the country. It is immediately after the ceremony that the real party starts as neighborhoods ready themselves for street fests with games and music concerts. On this day in Indonesia, the traditional game is "panjat pinang", which is a typical non competitive sport where people try to scale palm trees that are covered in oil (because climbing a non -slippery tree isn't hard enough?) in hopes of grabbing the prizes that have been placed at the top. This challenge is important because it symbolizes the struggle of Indonesians to achieve their independence from the Dutch. If you aren't down to get super greasy climbing trees, then you can try your luck at the hotdog shrimp chip eating contest. Yum.


Mexico:  September 16

The Mexican independence day (no - it's not Cinco De Mayo) memorializes the Grito de Delores, or the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest from Dolores. Mexico city is the hot spot for all the festivities as more than half a million people gather there each year. It is a tradition for the president to repeat the cry of patriotism and then there is a firework show. ¡Viva!

 


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