Celebrating Independence Around the World

Celebrating Independence Around the World

How other countries celebrate independence.
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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

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.

Macedonia

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.

Mexico

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.

Kenya

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.

Cover Image Credit: Cesar Millian

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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The Importance Of The 4th Of July

The 4th of July means more than fireworks, barbecues and Old Navy T-shirts.
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Many people see the Fourth of July as fireworks, barbecues or Old Navy t-shirts but this American holiday is more than an object or activity.

The Fourth of July stands for independence and freedom. This day is for us to look back and see the good our country has done instead of the bad. We look at the average day people who are seen as heroes by many. People are the Fourth of July, not flashing lights and family baseball. People make up our country, and they are the ones who decide if they want to make it great or not.

America in 1776 used this day to celebrate our independence after signing the Declaration of Independence. During this time, we had finally been free from the British Empire and from then on we have lived on as our own country. We as a nation live our life, and we are given more rights than many other countries. We are given the right to speak and express. We are given the right to love. We may not be the perfect nation but we, the people, are still correcting and attempting to make life better.

The Fourth of July is a day to look at your loved ones and be happy that history brought you here today. Your family’s descendants have different backgrounds, and without our independence, they may have never immigrated to America. Lately, there has been a split between people after the election of 2016. People with different beliefs on what America has become and will become began to clash. However, without delving deeper into this situation, America is still here, and these people who have conflict still live here. Our differences and clashing beliefs are what makes us Americans. We are allowed to think and speak out. We are allowed to change something we don't like. We are allowed to show emotion whether it be sadness, hatred or love. We are allowed to become whoever we set our minds to. We are allowed to be ourselves. Even if you aren't in love with the idea of America’s present situations, you at least have to see the bigger picture of what makes America the way it is. What makes us free? The laws or is it you as a person? We may still need to fight some battles, but we are freer than most others.

The Fourth of July may not be your favorite holiday, but it is a day to contemplate and think of how far we've come as a nation and how far we will go as a nation. This isn't decided on whoever is president or new laws this is decided by you. The people get to make our future. The next generation gets to make America better than where we left off. The Fourth of July is a special day to not only celebrate the history of our independence but a day to believe in the future of our country and what we as people can accomplish.

Cover Image Credit: Gianna Ruocco

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