The Fourth of July is the highlight of the summer in the United States. Americans have become pros at kicking off Independence Day with barbecues, picnics, and of course, explosive fireworks. But we’re not the only ones who have something to celebrate. Many other countries celebrate their independence in massive ways as well and you might be surprised to learn whose celebrations are similar to ours.
Norway Eats All The Ice Cream For Syttende Mai
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Norway celebrates Constitution Day on May 17th, otherwise known as Syttende Mai, the day the Constitution of Norway was signed in 1814. Unlike many other countries’ celebrations, Norway’s Constitution Day is notably non-military in nature.
Norwegians like to celebrate by consuming copious amounts of ice cream! Constitution Day is when ice cream shops and sellers see booming sales. Aside from that, the day mostly consists of children’s parades, where schoolchildren march while carrying the Norwegian national flag and donning its colors – red, blue, and white. There are also public parades that any citizen can join.
Indonesia Reaches For The Prize In The Sky
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Indonesia celebrates their independence from the Dutch on August 17th. The streets are decorated in red and white — the colors of the Indonesian flag. Schools and offices hold flag ceremonies and pray for their late national heroes.
The biggest event on this day is Panjat Pinang. For Panjat Pinang, prizes are placed atop large poles or tree trunks. As many as ten men compete to out-climb each other and grab the prizes. What makes the game interesting, however, is the fact that the poles and the men are covered in oil. Tthe Dutch held a similar competition with the locals for entertainment during colonization.
Canada Day Is Pretty Much Like Independence Day
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July 1st is Canada Day for the uppermost part of North America. Canadians celebrate “Canada’s birthday” with parades, festivals, barbecues, and fireworks. The only difference is the red and white color scheme.
The biggest Canada Day celebration takes place in the capital of Ottowa. The prime minister and the governor general host the event on Parliament Hill, where there is usually a concert. Canada Day commemorates when the Canadian provinces united to become a single entity. After the union, they became a self-governing colony and were granted independence by the British Empire in 1867. Canada isn’t the only country whose independence day seems a lot like the USA’s!
It’s Not Actually Called Bastille Day In France
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July 14th is internationally known as France’s Bastille Day, but no one in France actually calls it that. The French call it La Fête Nationale, and it’s a holiday commemorating the Storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.
In Paris, the Bastille Day Military Parade takes over the Champs-Élysées. There is also an epic fireworks display set to the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. But the real party starts at night with the Bals des Pompiers. Various fire stations throughout the French capital organize and throw parties that last well into the next morning.
Peru Celebrates Las Fiestas Patrias With Dancing And Rodeos
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Las Fiestas Patrias takes place on July 28th and 29th and is the most important national Peruvian holiday. July 28th signifies the day José de San Martin liberated Peru from Spanish rule, while the 29th commemorates the establishment of the Republic of Peru.
Cities all across Peru host festivities in their plazas, where there is food, music, and folkloric dancing. Rural towns typically celebrate with bullfights and rodeo shows as well. In the capital of Lima, the president addresses the nation in Plaza de Armas. Las Fiestas Patrias closes with a Grand Military Parade in Lima.
Australia Grants A Lot Of Citizenships On This Day
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Summers in Australia are highlighted by Australia Day on January 26th. The day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships and the emancipation of exiled convicts.
In the present day, Australia day celebrates democracy, diversity, and love of Australia. In Sydney, you can catch boat races on the harbor while Melbourne hosts the People’s March and the Voyages Concert. Because it’s summer down under in January, Australians celebrate similar to Americans. They too have barbecues, festivals, sporting events, and even fireworks! Australia Day is also the largest occasion for citizenship ceremonies.
South Korea Celebrates “The Day The Light Returned”
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August 15th is National Liberation Day of Korea, commemorating the victory over Japan in 1945. It is the only national public holiday celebrated by both North and South Korea.
In South Korea, the holiday is called Gwangbokjeol, which means “the day the light returned.” Homes and public buildings proudly display the South Korean national flag. Citizens also sing the official Gwangbokjeol song. The South Korean president usually officiates a ceremony at the Independence Hall of Korea. The South Korean government also issues special pardons to prisoners in honor of the day.
Cambodian Independence Day Is Quite Colorful
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On November 9th, Cambodia celebrates their independence from France. In the morning, the King officiates a special ceremony with the prime minister and other state officials. The entire ceremony is broadcast nationwide.
This all takes place at the Phnom Penh Independence Monument, which was built in 1958 to memorialize Cambodian independence. The day proceeds with festivities and parades, while the streets of Cambodia are dressed up in blue, white, and red. At night, there is a grand fireworks display at the Chatomuk River, which is right in front of the Royal Palace.
Cinco De Mayo Is NOT Mexican Independence Day
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Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. The real Mexican Independence Day takes place on September 16th. On the eve of this day, the President of Mexico reenacts “El Grito” (“The Cry”).
In 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bell of his church to signify the start of the war for Mexican independence from Spain. The day isn’t complete without a fantastic spread of food and, of course, fireworks! Towers of willow and palm stalks are filled with fireworks, firecrackers, and sparklers, then they are set on fire to display a magical explosion. See which country you’ll want to break out the paint for if you visit in August…
Greece Gets Very Traditional On This Dual Holiday
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In Greece, March 25th celebrates independence and Annunciation Day. The whole day is filled with parades where schoolchildren dress in traditional Greek clothing and carry the national flag.
The biggest event is in Athens, where there is a grand military parade that the president of Greece attends. Greek people look forward to eating bakaliaros, a Greek delicacy of salted, fried cod served with a garlic aioli. The holiday commemorates the day the country rose up against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. On the Greek Orthodox calendar, it is also the day the Archangel Gabriel informed Mary that she would bear the son of God.
Kenya Celebrates Jamuri Day In December
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Kenya celebrates their independence from the United Kingdom on December 12th on Jamuri Day. In Swahili, the word “jamuri” means “republic.” Kenyans celebrate Jamuri Day with feasts, while parades and speeches from political figures also take place.
The most important event on Jamuri Day is the Trooping of the Colors for various military units. Since Jamuri Day is in December it can get pretty festive as folks get excited about Christmastime. Jamuri is unofficially seen as the start of the Christmas season in Kenya since it is the day that holiday shopping typically begins.
Pakistanis Paint Themselves Green And White
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August 14th is a national holiday when Pakistan celebrates their independence from the British Raj in 1947. Pakistanis celebrate the day by putting up the national flag and by wearing or painting themselves green and white.
The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan address the nation in a live telecast that takes place in Islamabad. Many Pakistanis visit with friends and relatives and feast on the finest Pakistani delicacies. The celebration actually starts at the beginning of August, when preparations begin and fairs are set up to get people excited. Keep reading to see which country requires a different calendar for you to know when to celebrate…
Kite Flying Is An Indian Independence Day Tradition
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India celebrates their independence from the United Kingdom on August 15th. The President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation” the night before to prepare Indian citizens for the next day’s festivities.
On the day of, the Indian Prime Minister delivers his address to the nation. He highlights the past year’s accomplishments and raises the Indian flag at the historic Red Fort in Delhi. This is followed by a parade, but most importantly kite flying. Kites have become an Indian Independence Day tradition, started by the Freedom Fighters who wanted the British out of the country.
Ghana Marches In Memory Of Gaining Their Independence
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Ghana celebrates their independence on March 6th. Their celebrations are highlighted by a traditional march at the Black Star Square in the capital of Accra. Schoolchildren and security personnel typically participate in the march.
Ghana’s independence day celebrates the strength of the African spirit and breaking free from colonial rule. Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence from Great Britain which led to the decolonization of Africa. Ghana’s independence is attributed to leader Kwame Nkrumah, who said: “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.”
Israel Lights Up The 12 Torches For Yom Ha’atzmaut
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On the fifth day of Iyar of the Hebrew calendar, Israel celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut, which means “Day of Independence.” Former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion originally founded the State of Israel in 1948.
The official ceremony takes place on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. The main event is the lighting of the 12 torches that represent the Tribes of Israel. Each year, 12 Israeli citizens who’ve made significant contributions to their communities are chosen to light the torches. Israeli families usually celebrate this day with picnics and barbecues as well. You’d be surprised to learn which upcoming country doesn’t really throw a big party, but they do remember to drink that day…
Ukraine Takes Pride In Their Military Parade
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On August 24th, Ukraine celebrates their Declaration of Independence that was established in 1991. The biggest event takes place in Kyiv, where there is a large, stately military parade.
Over 4,000 citizens participate in the military parade where 200 units of military machinery are put on display. Many Ukranian citizens dress up in traditional embroidered blouses called “vyshyvanka.” There is also a whole parade dedicated to vyshyvanka clothing that is open to anyone, as well as a race to raise money for school athletics. The blue and yellow colors of the Ukranian flag grace streets and windows all over the country as well.
Bolivia Celebrates Bolivian Culture On Dia De La Patria
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Bolivia celebrates Dia de la Patria on August 6th as the anniversary of the Bolivian Republic. Celebrations for Dia de la Patria can last as long as two days and include festivities such as marching band performances, street dances, and gun salutes.
The biggest celebrations take place at La Paz and Sucre. Usually, there are huge parades that feature traditional dances and homages to Bolivian culture. Many Bolivian citizens look forward to seeing the president at the parade. Sometimes carnivals are set up where you can delight in Bolivian delicacies and plenty of drinks.
Brazil Is Rather Lowkey About Their Independence
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Brazil’s independence is celebrated on September 7th, otherwise known as Sete de Setembro. Brazilian cities decorate with the Brazilian flag, while schools host independence day parades.
While a lot of Brazilians like to use the national holiday to travel, most Brazilians celebrate their independence by consuming vast amounts of alcohol. This day is also celebrated in other cities around the world as Brazilian Day. Brazilian Day is usually celebrated in cities with a large population of Brazilian immigrants. Brazilian Day in New York City, for example, is honored with one of the largest street festivals in Manhattan.
Finland’s Independence Day Tradition Dates Back To WWI
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Finland celebrates their independence from Russian on December 6th. The holiday is certainly quieter in Finland than other countries’ independence day celebrations. Finnish citizens commemorate the day by going to church and putting up blue and white decor.
Finland also celebrates with some pretty solemn traditions. Some families will light two candles in their windowsill. The tradition dates back to when families put candles in their windows as a sign that their home was open to Finnish soldiers. The soldiers sought shelter and needed a place to hide from the Russians. Finland finally gained their independence in 1917 after the Russian revolution and the end of WWI.
Lithuania Celebrates Two Independence Days
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Independence Day in Lithuania is celebrated with festivals and parades all across the country. It is a national holiday, so businesses and shops close down, while shows and concerts are free to the public. Lithuanians fly the Lithuanian flag and wear red, yellow, and green.
Lithuanian Independence Day is actually celebrated twice. February 16th is the first day, commemorating the Restoration of the State after they gained control of their country from Germany and Russia following WWI. The second day is March 11th, which is Restoration of Independence Day after Lithuania was declared independence from the Soviet Union.