With Independence Day right around the corner and firework tents popping up everywhere, I can’t help but get excited. Stores host Fourth of July sales, firework shows go all night and parties are held all over the country to celebrate the day our nation was born.But with our world so involved in foreign affairs lately, I began to wonder if other countries celebrated their independence as lavishly as we do.
Turns out, almost every country has some kind of independence day, and they all celebrate differently! As an opportunity to immerse yourself in cultures vastly different from your own, here are a few countries that have a refreshing take on their own version of ‘fourth of July.’
India celebrates liberation on April 15th after 300 long years of British rule. The entirety of the country rejoices together, and there are no parts of the nation left out in the festivities.
Old and new patriotic movies are shown on almost all television networks for people of all ages to enjoy. Flag hoistings are held at schools, in neighborhoods, and even the Prime Minister is broadcast hoisting the flag, which many families tune in to watch together. The singing of the national anthem follows, and plenty of traditional Indian food is prepared to add to the merriment.
Another significant activity on April 15th is flying kites. Many citizens fly kites colored as the tiranga, or the Indian flag. The kites symbolize the freeing feeling that the country had once they broke away from the United Kingdom. Together, it a beautiful sight and the feeling of unity could never be stronger than on this day.
In the Republic of Macedonia, Independence day is called Den na nezavisnosta. Celebrated on September 8th, the country gained its independence from Yugoslavia to become a sovereign parliamentary democracy. Every year there are parades, concerts and festivals where everyone can enjoy historic displays and immerse themselves in the lovely culture. The celebration is mostly held at Macedonia Square, which is in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. In the center is a fountain with a grand statue of Alexander the Great, who spread the Macedonian empire throughout Europe and Asia. By the age of 16 he was already one of the greatest rulers in history, so it is only right that he be added to the celebration of this great country’s independence.
September 16th is Mexico’s day of Independence, not Cinco De Mayo like many would assume. It is called Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores, which marked the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence against Spain. Every year on September 15th at around eleven at night in Mexico City, the President of Mexico rings the bell of the National Palace and recites a patriotic speech that mentions all of the heroes in the Mexican Independence War on the balcony of the palace. Half a million people from all over Mexico come to see this momentous event.
The next morning, there is a huge parade held by the military that travels all over Mexico to commemorate the day they won their freedom. There are plenty of parties, history-laced festivals, concerts and marching band competitions held on this joyous day filled with pride for the splendid nation.
Jamhuri Day is the Kenyan day of Independence, celebrated on the 12th of December each year. Jamhuri is Swahili for ‘republic’, and the day represents two momentous occasions: the day Kenya became a republic and the day the country became free from the United Kingdom.
Many festivals are held that that celebrate Kenya’s unique cultural identity. Kenyans dress in traditional outfits on this day that include Kikoys, vibrantly-colored, hand-woven cloth that can be wrapped around the waist or the neck, and Kitenges, which are East-African fabrics that women wear as beautiful dresses or headscarves. Celebrating their African heritage is very important, which is why Kenyans pull out all the stops and fill this day with many traditional foods, songs and dances that create a resplendent event that definitely honors their country in the best way possible.
Every way that the world celebrates is beautiful and unique, and we all can all agree that the idea of freedom is one to be shouted from the rooftops. Though every culture in every part of the world does it a little differently, the meaning is the always the same, and that is something that unites us all.