Celebrate Independence: Independence Day Around the World


Growing up in the United States, I spent several years learning about American history in school, especially about the Revolutionary War, which eventually resulted in America’s Independence. Turns out, America wasn’t the only country that had to work hard for their independence. Some countries gained their independence as recently as 2008! Check out the stories of how various countries around the world have gained their freedom and celebrate their independence!

Independence Day Around the World | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

United States

Kiyoko (me) from Footsteps of a Dreamer

In the United States, Independence Day is more often referred to by the day it is celebrated: the 4th of July. On July 2nd, 1776 the Second Continental Congress of the thirteen American colonies voted to declare independence from the British Empire. From there, Thomas Jefferson and a few other members of the congress wrote the Declaration of Independence, which was approved on July 4th.

Nowadays, July 4th is a national holiday, so many companies and institutions close for the day. Most cities and even small towns hold some sort of fireworks celebration and some places even hold parades throughout the day. Depending on what day of the week the 4th of July falls, many places will have fireworks either the weekend before or the weekend after instead of on the 4th of July itself, so you always have to do a bit of research in advance to find when to join in on the festivities. Some of the more historically important cities such as Boston, Massachusetts (a major location of the Revolutionary War against the British Empire), and Washington D.C. (the country’s capital), have some of the best 4th of July celebrations, so it’s worth making a special trip just to see them.

United States Independence Day | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

Argentina

Erin from Sol Salute

Argentina’s Independence Day is celebrated the same week as in the U.S., on July 9th. As an American expat in Buenos Aires, this makes it a very patriotic week for me! Many confuse July 9th with May 25th, another patriotic holiday in Argentina. At the end of May in 1810, a revolution set Argentina on the path to independence. Actual independence didn’t happen until 1816 on July 9th, when the country was freed from Spanish control.

Argentine culture is very family focused, so it’s no surprise that this holiday is traditionally celebrated with a long family lunch. What’s on the menu? Locro, a hearty stew made up of corn, lima beans, and meat. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina is always very cold in July and Locro will warm you right up! If you’re visiting from abroad, don’t worry. You don’t need a family to celebrate with. Every restaurant in town worth its salt will be serving up a special 9 de Julio menu featuring housemade locro (don’t forget to order a bottle of Malbec to go with it).Enjoy your after-dinner conversation, meals are long and to be enjoyed! For dessert, try pastelitos (fried, sweet potato or quince filled pastries) and coffee to help digest the heavy lunch while talking late into the evening.

Argentina Independence Day | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

Brazil

Bruna from Maps ‘N Bags

Once a Portuguese colony, Brazil celebrates its Independence Day on September 7. But before I tell you more about how Brazilians celebrate this amazing day, I’ll tell you how the country got to it.

Back in 1500, when only Brazilian Indians lived in the country, a Portuguese fleet arrived in South America, in Porto Seguro City to be more specific, and claimed Brazil for itself. Among many negative and positive aspects, as in any empire-colony relation, Brazil – the Giant – was slowly waking up.

But only over 300 years later, in 1822, after many rebellions throughout the country, Brazil was finally declared independent from Portugal.

Today, Brazilians celebrate this day in the streets of the country watching plenty of patriotic parades and  annual festivals of local music. If you’re in a large city like Sao Paulo on September 7, prepare to spend a day celebrating in good style. Brazilians are known for being party-people.

The Independence Day is so important for locals that many Brazilians living abroad started celebrating this day in their new country of residence. This is a big festival in many cities around the world, called “Brazilian Day”. It takes place in Tokyo, London, Toronto, Auckland, you name it! It has even become part of the official calendar in New York City!

My advice? Google “Brazilian Day + your city”, or a big city nearby and go party with them!

Brazil Independence Day | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

Canada

Kate from KateKorte.com

Canada Day celebrates the date Canada officially become a country, or a constitutional monarchy and not a British colony. The British monarchy is still technically Canada’s head of state, but they no longer have any power over Canada’s affairs. Unlike our American neighbours, Canada technically still has the British Queen as our Queen and we celebrate gaining our independence from British control on July 1st every year. Canada Day is typically celebrated with firework shows, festivals for families, and backyard barbeques.

Canada Day is a day to celebrate being Canadian more than it is a day to celebrate our independence from Britain. Canada was populated by aboriginals (the First Nations, Metis, Inuits of Canada) before it was colonized by the British and French. So really, Canada existed as a collection of unique nations (First Nations bands and other distinct aboriginal groups) long before the first Canada Day was celebrated.

For the Canadians above the legal drinking age, Canada Day typically means an opportunity to cheers to being Canadian. Everyone gets the day off work, so a lot of Canadians take this opportunity to drive out to one of our many lakes. We typically have festivals with local artists and activities, wear red and white or a Canadian Tuxedo (jean on jean), and buy Canada flag temporary tattoos. Canada Day festivities always ends with a fireworks show.

Canada Independence Day | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

Finland

Jacky from Nomad Epicureans

Unlike other countries, Independence Day in Finland is somewhat understated. Finns celebrate their independence every year on the 6th of December, dating back to when Finland gained its independence from Bolshevist Russian in 1917. Finns capitalized on disturbances within Russia following the First World War by withdrawing from Russian rule. Although Finns as a people had lived in the area for hundreds of years, 1917 was the first occurrence of an independent Finnish National State. The installation of this first Finnish republic followed over 100 years of Russian rule and 700 years of Swedish rule.

Today, Finns celebrate within the confines of their homes, with family and friends. They come together to watch the televised Presidential Independence Day reception and discuss the guests’ attires over coffee and cake. In fact, bakeries offer special pastries for Independence day, iced in the colors of the Finnish flag: white and blue. The flag, by the way, is a common sight in the streets on Independence Day.

Last year, in 2017, Finland celebrated 100 years of independence, accompanied by several special events throughout the country, as well as a special edition of the Finnish passport featuring winter scenes from the Finnish wilderness.

Finland Independence Day | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

Georgia

Baia from Red Fedora Diary

The country of Georgia celebrates its Independence Day on May 26. It’s an annual public holiday and commemorates the adoption of the Act of Independence on May 26, 1918 after the Russian Revolution of 1917. The celebrations vary from year to year, but mainly include a small parade, fairs, and speeches delivered from the representatives of the government, as well as the President.

Georgia has a long history of being an independent country throughout its history, but the geographical location has made it quite hard to keep that indepence for years. It serves a perfect path from Europe to Asia, and vice versa, therefore, Georgia has been invaded over the centuries by its strong neighbors including Mongols, Persians, and Ottomans.

Since the late 19th century, Georgia was part of the Russian Empire as the King Erekle II has signed a bilateral treaty with its neighbor to serve as a protectorate of Russia and guaranteed its territorial integrity. However, when the Tsarist autocracy was dismantled in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century, Georgia saw this opportunity to proclaim independence.

Sadly, the independence lasted only until 1921, the year when Soviet Russian army invaded the country and became part of the Soviet Union. The country gained back its independence only on April 9, 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet regime.

Georgia Independence Day | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

Kosovo

Lavdi from Kosovo Girl Travels

Kosovo, although it has a long history, only became independent ten years ago. On February 17, 2008, it declared its independence from Serbia after a nine-year period of international supervision preceded by a war that only ended when NATO intervened. Though the war consequences are still visible in certain parts of the country and there are occasional tensions between the majority Albanians and the minority Serbs, Kosovo institutions and people organize Independence Day celebrations every year. There is the main concert organized in the Mother Teresa Boulevard in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, which brings to the country famous Kosovo artists. 2018 marked the tenth anniversary and this was a big deal and a big celebration. Kosovo Albanian world-known singer, Rita Ora, was the main singer at the concert organized to celebrate this small milestone.

Apart from the concert, various exhibits are organized at the museums and/or the city galleries. Also, the Kosovo cities (minus the Serb-majority ones) get decorated with Kosovo flag but also with flags of the countries that helped and supported Kosovo to gain its independence such as the US and German flags.

I usually use the day off we get (especially if it is a long weekend) to travel to some new place while using that to spread awareness about my new country (the second new country after South Sudan) or when I’m at home I join the festivities and go out with family or friends for a drink.

Kosovo Independence Day | Footsteps of a Dreamer

 

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Independence Day Around the World | Footsteps of a Dreamer

1 Response

  1. Joyce Hall says:

    Very interesting! I guess I never thought of other countries celebrating an independence day.

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