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Not every country in the world was always free from colonial rule or occupation. Many countries have gone through the experience of being colonized or occupied, and for some countries, these memories are still recent. The day that sovereignty was gained is thus an important day to remember for many countries. Here are some of the ways that Independence Day is celebrated in different countries around the world:
Fourth of July
The much-feted Fourth of July celebrations in the USA commemorate the States gaining their independence from Britain in 1776. Formerly, the States had been colonies of Great Britain, while parts of the territory belonged to the Spanish and the French. Now, the Fourth of July is celebrated with fireworks displays nationwide, and many people hold barbecue parties as the holiday falls in the middle of summer.
Indonesia celebrates its independence from the Dutch on the 17th of August each year. The occasion is marked by flag raising ceremonies, which are usually followed by less formal celebrations. An interesting tradition still practiced is the holding of several neighborhood competitions, of which the most popular is a palm-tree climbing competition. Communities often gather on this day to perform group work such as cleaning up the neighborhood.
Grito de Dolores
Mexico’s Independence Day falls on the 16th of September each year. The day before, the President of Mexico rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City, followed by a Grito Mexicano, which is a shout of patriotism. The Grito Mexico is meant as a reenactment of the cry of independence that proclaimed the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. On Independence Day itself, military parades and other celebrations are held throughout the country to commemorate Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Canada Day is celebrated each year on the 1st of July. It marks the day that three colonies in North America were united into a single country known as Canada. Unlike many other countries, where such occasions are celebrated with a major, centralized parade or display, most Canada Day celebrations in Canada tend to be small. Barbecues and fireworks are common activities in celebration of Canada Day, and overseas Canadians play an active role in organizing Canada Day celebrations in their host countries.
Vietnam has had a long history of being a French colony. It finally achieved independence on the 2nd of September 1945. Following the end of the war in 1945, there was a power vacuum briefly, which the Viet Minh then capitalized on to launch the August Revolution in a bid to wrest power from the French colonial masters. The revolution was successful, and the last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty abdicated on the 2nd of September, marking the end of royal rule in Vietnam. Popular activities on this day include visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, or watching one of the many parades and fireworks shows held to commemorate the occasion.
Does your country have unique Independence Day celebrations or traditions? We want to know!
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