Independence Day isn’t over yet

From the red, white and blue everywhere to the pride I feel when I hear The Stars and Stripes Forever, I love July 4th. I love the fireworks, parades, hot dogs and patriotism. But we aren’t the only country who celebrates its independence — it’s a worldwide tradition.

There are patriotic celebrations around the globe. Here’s a few that are on my bucket list:

January 26: Australia

AustraliaAustralia Day is similar to Independence Day, though it celebrates the first raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove in 1788 (yeah, the opposite of the U.S. Independence Day). It’s been celebrated in one way or another since about 1818.

Every major city celebrates in its own way. Sydney hosts boat races, Perth has an incredible firework show, and Melbourne holds a People’s March celebrating diversity. In fact, diversity is a major theme of the holiday, with some area hosting citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the community.

February 17: Kosovo

KosovoAn incredibly young country, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 — though it’s still not officially recognized as a country by some governments. It only recently started celebrating its Independence Day, and it’s still a tumultuous day.

Just this year, a festival in the capital, Pristina, culminated in a parade of police and armed forces. Other celebrations include traditional music and a gathering at the Newborn Monument — a typographic sculpture built to commemorate Kosovo’s independence.

March 6: Ghana

GhanaGhana gained independence from the UK (those guys had everybody) in 1957. It was the first African country to do so. Today, the country celebrates the day with fireworks, parades and marches.

The unique factor comes with street parties and jams, a Ghanaian tradition. There are also beach parties, as the coastal area celebrates with music and dances that combine West African tradition and hip hop. The fishing village of Shama also hosts a famous regatta competition.

June 2: Philippines

PhilippinesCelebrating their independence from Spain in 1898, Filipinos start the day with a flag-raising ceremony. Flags and fireworks are the mainstays of the holiday.

The holiday is dedicated to family bonding. Gatherings feature food, family and friends to commemorate the day. Filipinos around the world celebrate. In New York, Filipino-Americans gather and organize the Philippine Independence Day Parade which includes a culture show and street fair.

July 1: Canada

CanadaSometimes referred to as “Canada’s Birthday,” this day honors the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act which united three separate colonies into modern day Canada. Much like the country, the celebrations are wide and varied.

You can have your choice of celebrations, from parades, carnivals, picnics, fireworks, air shows and music. Ottawa (the capital) is the destination for those who want to go all out.

July 4: U.S.A.

USAIn 1776, the original colonies voted to become independent on July 2, and the founding fathers planned on that being the annual holiday. However, they didn’t actually sign the Declaration of Independence until the 4th — and that became our Independence Day.

In 1777, the very first celebrations took place. Philadelphia set the precendence for the celebrations today, with fireworks, music and parades. Other traditions today include wearing red, white and blue, displaying flags, and lots of time outdoors with picnics and cook outs.

July 14: France

FranceKnown as Bastille Day (by English speakers), this day marks the Storming of the Bastille in 1789, a major event in the French revolution against the royals. The day starts off with the oldest and largest military parade in Europe, held on the Champs Elysees in front of the president and other officials.

Fireworks are the main attraction, but the offbeat way to celebrate is at a Fireman’s gala. A country-wide tradition, fire stations open to the public for dancing and drinking. Thanks to a large global French presence, there are celebrations around the world as well, including plenty in the U.S. (Here’s a list of celebrations near you.)

July 28-29: Peru

PeruThat’s right, one day isn’t enough time to celebrate in Peru. July 28 marks the day Jose de San Martin proclaimed Peru’s independence and July 29 hosts a celebration in honor of the armed forces and National Police.

A cannon salute in Lima starts the celebrations. The Gran Corso, a huge parade, features hundreds of people dressed in colorful costumes and drum lines. The parade lasts for several hours.

August 15: India

IndiaAfter three centuries of British rule, India became independent in 1947. Every year since, millions of people in India commemorate the event by decorating houses, offices and schools with the colors of the Indian flag. Citizens attend ceremonies where they sing the national anthem.

In addition to flags and national anthems, it’s a day for flying kites. In India, the kite symbolizes freedom, though it can become a competitive sport as well with kites fighting for air space.

August 15: South Korea

South KoreaNational Liberation Day marks the day that both North and South Korea were liberated from Imperial Japanese Colonial Rule by the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1945. In South Korea, it’s known as Gwangbokjeol: the day the light returned.

South Korea celebrates freedom on this day — in various “freeing” ways. Most museums and public transportation options are free this day. Special pardons are given to prisoners on this day.

August 17: Indonesia

IndonesiaTheir own date of independence is August 17, 1945, when the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was read and began the revolution against the Netherlands. In 2013, they asked the Netherlands to formally acknowledge their independence day. The United Nations negotiated an agreement and officially recognizes their independence date as December 27, 1949.

The day starts with eyes on the National Palace where a flag ceremony is held. High school students are selected to hoist the flag. Immediately afterwards, neighborhoods host street fests which include games and concerts.

The most unique part? Climbing a greasy palm tree. Panjat pinang challenges people to scale slippery trees to try to grab prizes that have been placed at the top. It’s symbolic of the struggle to achieve independence.

August 24: Ukraine

UkraineThe date shifted around between 1990 and 1991, but Ukraine has stuck with August 24, marking the 1991 Declaration of Independence. Celebrations begin on August 23, the national day of the flag.

Blue and yellow springs up across the country. The streets are filled with people dressed in traditional Ukrainian costume, or Vyshyvanka. An annual international folklore festival features a variety of handicraft, street foods and art programs.

September 16: Mexico

That’s right, Cinco de Mayo (which marks a 1862 battle against France) is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day. September 16, known as Grito de Dolores (the cry of Dolores), marks the 1810 proclamation of the Mexican War of Independence.

The day is marked with parades, concerts and parties. More than half a million people gather in Mexico City to celebrate. The president traditionally repeats the cry of patriotism, followed by shouts of ¡Viva! And they wrap up with fireworks at night.


Happy Independence Day y’all!

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